1. Power play – be a difference maker. The Blackhawks have gone 2 for 11 with the man advantage in the series so far. 18 percent isn’t horrible for your power play, but when you look deeper, they have managed just 10 shots during these 11 odd-man advantages. Both power play goals have come in Blackhawk losses. Your power play is not only about scoring goals, it’s about gaining momentum within the game. Shots and chances are what create energy on your power play, and the last few attempts have been marked by few shots and lots of clears by Tampa Bay. Assume that shooting mentality and be shooters with a relentless puck retrieval.
2. Kane will be able. Patrick Kane has played very well in this series, yet doesn’t have a lot to show for his efforts. He leads all forwards from both teams in time on ice, and racked up a hefty 24 plus minutes in Game 1 in Tampa Bay. Kane is at his best when he is skating into the “money zone,” that area between the dots and tops of the circles extending down to the Tampa Bay goal line. The Lightning defense has done a great job of denying number 88 this area, using their size, strength, and sticks to make sure Kaner isn’t weaving any of his magic in this locale. Look for Kaner to get things going on the power play. He’s been a lifetime point per game player, and with just one assist so far in the series, he will be looking to be a difference maker.
[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]
3. Keep stopping Stamkos. The Hawks have done a great job of shutting down one of the top shooters in the NHL. Steven Stamkos finished second only to Alex Ovechkin in NHL goal scoring this year with 43. He has no goals and just 1 assist in the 4 games of this series so far. Better yet, he has been limited to just 2 shots on net in each of the last 3 games. His 2 shots last game came in the first and last minute of the contest, with no shots during his other 19 minutes of playing time. The Blackhawks defensemen have done a great job of keeping Stamkos to the outside and denying that prime real estate in front of Corey Crawford, where the sniper earns his money. Stamkos is capable of breaking a game open, make sure it is not tonight.