CSN Chicago Blackhawks pre/postgame analyst Steve Konroyd gives his three keys to a Blackhawks' victory in Tuesday's game against the Senators.
1: Beware the wounded Tiger:
This Ottawa Senators team was supposed to compete for a playoff seed in a very difficult Atlantic Division. Right now they are ranked tenth in the Eastern Conference, and are on the outside looking in for a playoff spot. This will be the eighth time in 12 games that they have played on the road, and they have lost three of their last four - including a home loss to the lowly Edmonton Oilers. Monday the team held a players only meeting and hashed a few things out among themselves. Last year they out-hustled, outhit and outworked a more talented team in the Montreal Canadiens, and upset them in the first-round in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They will come out hungry, hard and fast, and you have to push back in the first 10 minutes of this hockey game.
2: Keep the power play rolling:
Power play goals in five straight games now for the Blackhawks, coming on the heals of a 1-for-16 slide over their previous four games. The difference: they are shooting the puck a lot more. They’re also winning a lot of faceoffs, and went 4-for-4 in the offensive zone with the man advantage during Monday's victory over the Wild. This Ottawa team is taking almost five minor penalties every game, so you’re going to get some looks. They also know how to kill penalties as they rank fourth in the NHL in PK efficiency. If you can keep winning the special teams battle, chances are you’ll end up winning the game.
3: Keep the D involved:
Nick Leddy and Sheldon Brookbank scored two very important goals for the Blackhawks against Minnesota. The second and third goals by these Hawks came three minutes apart, and they were both rockets from the point. Last night eight of the 16 shots during the first two periods came from defensemen, and when the other team collapses in front, chance are the points are open. Here’s an interesting stat: with 31 points from the back end, the Hawks rank third overall in the NHL when it comes to defensemen scoring.