CSN Chicago Blackhawks pre/postgame analyst Steve Konroyd gives his three keys to a Blackhawks' victory in Tuesday's season opener against the Capitals.
1. Settle your emotions and then find the energy
By all accounts Tuesday's Championship banner raising will be a spectacle. It will be hard for the players not to get caught up with the Stanley Cup memories of last June. But they’ve been in this situation before. After winning the Stanley Cup and watching the banner raised in 2010, the Blackhawks lost to the Detroit Red Wings in their home opener. Just this past January, the Hawks ruined the Kings banner raising, and spanked the defending Stanley Cup champs, 5-2, in their home opener. It will be key for the whole team to enjoy the moment and then park it. Get focused on an 82-game grind.
2. Beware of Ovi
Alexander Ovechkin is one of the most dynamic players in the entire NHL. He plays with emotion, power, and speed. Last season he finished the year by scoring 27 goals in the last 32 regular season games. He has a great rapport with head coach Adam Oates, who just finished his first season behind the bench with the Capitals. Watch Ovechkin on the power play where he likes to jump up from the goal line, find the seam, and strike with his vicious one timer.
3. Power Play – Get off on the right foot
If there was one area of concern for the Blackhawks last year - and this is really nitpicking - it was the power play that ended up 19th in the league. That number was easier to live with when your penalty kill finished 3rd overall. With all the talent they have at their disposal, it was a real mystery as to why they couldn’t generate not only more goals, but also momentum. One thing the team has been working on this preseason is shooting more, so look for the likes of Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, and Bryan Bickell to shoot first and ask questions later.