1. Weather an early Anaheim storm
Anaheim could have closed out the Blackhawks in Game 6 in the Windy City. They never really forced the issue or pushed the pace until the third period when they came at the Hawks in waves, and had Chicago in its own end for extended periods of time. Expect that early Saturday night from the Ducks. Forwards taking chances, D-men joining the rush, and pucks dumped in so that forecheckers can try to run you through the end boards. Anaheim has a lot of recent Game 7 history at home, and it isn’t good. They will be looking to change this record by pushing back hard on the Hawks. At this point of the year, it’s always will over skill. Get a hit, block a shot, make a good pass, win a faceoff, get into the game early. All those boring, thankless little things that go into any win are really what matter most.
2. Score first
Sounds a little too simple to be a key, but there are a lot of benefits in accomplishing this. Scoring first would take the crowd at the Honda Center out of it. The Ducks would instantly feel the pressure and stress of “oh no, here we go again!” The way it has played out, the team that has scored first in each of the first six games of this Western Conference Final has gone on to win the game. In the Eastern Conference Final, all but one game went to the team that scored first. But there is more history here for Anaheim. Last year they allowed the Los Angeles Kings to score first in that pivotal Game 7 on home ice in the first round. Again, the team that scored first won each and every game of that series. Dial it back two years ago when Henrik Zetterberg of the Detroit Red Wings scored less than two minutes into that Game 7 in Anaheim, and again the team scoring first went on to win this game and the series.
3. Pump fake works: gotta use it
The Blackhawks might have learned a valuable lesson in Game 6 where Duncan Keith pump faked twice on the Blackhawks second goal. In doing so, he drew three Anaheim defenders, which left Marian Hossa all alone at the side of the net. The Ducks have blocked 162 shots in the six games so far. That is 65 more blocked shots than the Blackhawks have in this series. They also have more shots on net than Chicago. You have to hand it to Anaheim for making the sacrifice and getting in the shooting lanes. But that’s where Chicago can take advantage. Fake the shot, and look for a passing lane. Often there are two and three layers between the shooter and the net, so look for teammates off to the side or in the high slot. You might even get Anaheim goalie Frederik Andersen biting on one of those pump fakes.