1. Weather an early Nashville storm.
What a heartbreaking loss for the Nashville Predators in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Nashville laid it all out on the line and still came up a goal short in that thrilling contest. As drained as all the players must feel, you feel a little more tired when you come up the loser in a game that lasted 4 ½ hours.
But these Predators don’t have time to feel sorry for themselves, and they will come out with a vengeance to start the game tonight. They aren’t dead yet, and this will be the strongest push the Blackhawks will see to start a game. Get through this first 10 minutes even, and it will be a big advantage for the rest of the game.
2. Look for candy around Rinne.
I love what assistant coach Kevin Dineen had to say during the third-period talk-back with the guys in the booth. Dineen said they have to take advantage of the “candy” that is laying around goaltender Pekka Rinne after the initial shot.
Kids' eyes light up when they see candy, and that’s how the forwards who take a beating in front of the net have to view it. Rinne was a lot better in the third period and overtimes, but he is still not the Rinne of old where he could literally win a game by himself. Rebounds and losing his crease are a couple of themes with him in this series, as are goals to the blocker/stick side.
3. Need more from second line.
The first line production of Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad has been really strong thus far. Combining for 12 points and a plus-6, these guys have done a lot of the heavy lifting up front for the Hawks. The second line…not so much. Patrick Kane has an impressive four points, but half of those have come on the power play. It looks like Bryan Bickell will be a part of that unit now, after an impressive showing there late in the game and overtime in their last tilt.
Brad Richards has yet to register a point, but has been very effective in the two games at home against Nashville. Kane should be almost up to speed with five-plus games under his belt (counting OT) after missing seven weeks, so look for this line to generate some action.