1. Dominating start. One thing has held true throughout this round, and almost all of the playoffs: the team that has scored first has gone on to win the game. On a larger scale, Anaheim is 7-0 and Chicago 7-1 when they hit the score sheet first in this postseason. A good start brings a lot to the table for the Blackhawks – it get’s you energized and feeling good about your game, it gets the fans and their energy into the contest, and it gets the opposition on their heels. In the last contest, the Blackhawks had maybe their worst start of the playoffs this year. Coach Joel Quenneville blamed it on being stationary and not getting pucks out. Get your legs moving and passing game in gear and make sure you are pushing the pace against the Ducks.
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2. Break the drought. Three key players in recent playoff success for the Blackhawks have been relatively quiet on the goal scoring front of late. Patrick Sharp has been very noticeable with three helpers in his last two games, but has yet to score against Anaheim. He has 18 shots on Frederik Andersen in this series. Marian Hossa has one goal against the Ducks, a goal that was put in accidentally by an Anaheim defender. He has 16 shots in the series. Maybe the biggest disappointment so far has been the play of power forward Bryan Bickell. He has yet to score in the postseason and has just seven shots in this series. He leads the way in hits, but is at his best when he combines his physicality with a goal scoring touch.
3. You’ve planted the seed…now make it rain with shots. I mentioned in my keys to the last game that you had gotten into the head of Freddy Andersen by putting five goals past him in a 5-4 OT win at the UC on Saturday. This carries a little more weight today judging by the way Andersen played in Anaheim on Monday. Yes, he won the game, but almost gave away a two-goal lead with less that two minutes to play. Two of the four goals scored on him were of the ugly variety, and it would be in the best interest of all the Hawks to shoot whenever given the opportunity. Chicago took over 16 minutes to get their first shot on goal in Anaheim in the last game. That can’t happen tonight.