1. You got to Freddy, now crawl into his head. Good job by the Blackhawks in their last game getting shots and traffic in and around Ducks goalie Frederick Andersen. I think it’s been Andersen, more than any other Anaheim player, who has controlled the fate of his team so far. Excellent play by the Danish stopper in Games 1 and 3 has gotten his team to a best of three against the Hawks. But we saw some vulnerability in his last start, where three of the five goals went in on him stick side. The five goals he allowed is also the most ever in his brief playoff career. It’s also the most the Blackhawks have scored in this postseason. Andersen was pulled last year in the playoffs during a crucial Game 6 start after allowing four goals to Dallas on just 12 shots. Not a lot of experience to fall back on for Andersen, so the Blackhawks need to try to get to him early to get him second guessing himself.
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2. Keep the power play rolling. What an unbelievable series so far between these two powerhouse teams. The last game had more twists and turns than a Bavarian pretzel! From going up by two to going down by one in 37 seconds, and then tying it up on a much needed power play goal. And we’re talking about a window of five minutes in the third period. But one thing that has been a telling trademark of the outcome of these games has been special teams play. Both the Blackhawks and the Ducks are a perfect 6-0 when they score a power play goal. Really liked the thought process in the last game where the Hawks limited passing and concentrated on getting shots. Brad Richards on the first unit provided a huge spark on the game-tying goal.
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3. Play the speed game. Sure seems like Anaheim’s hitting has taken a step back. Yes, they had 60 hits in Game 4, but that was over the course of almost 86 minutes of playing time. The Hawks defense did a better job of avoiding hits with their speed and elusiveness. Hitting certainly takes its toll, but it also takes a toll on the hitter and the Ducks seemed to have backed off a bit in this respect. Get pucks out of your zone in a hurry, even if it means flipping it into the air and into the Ducks' defensive zone where you can race for it. Tape-to-tape passes are what feed the speed game, though, and the Blackhawks have to make sure their passing is on the mark.