Konroyd's keys to Blackhawks-Avalanche

Konroyd's keys to Blackhawks-Avalanche
March 4, 2014, 2:15 pm
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Steve Konroyd

1: Score the game’s first goal. Sounds simple, but it means so much to the Blackhawks' success. When Chicago scores first, they are an unbelievable 28-1-6. Maybe more amazing is that Colorado is 30-1-3 when they score first. That means they have lost just one game in regulation out of 34 when they get the game’s first goal. Scoring first is a huge boost. It changes your attitude as a team, and it gives you a ton of momentum.

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2: Stay out of the penalty box. The Blackhawks took six minor penalties against the No. 1 power play in the NHL in their last game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. They killed all six, and only allowed five shots while down a man. That was fantastic, but you’re playing with fire when you put the other team up a man. They are facing a red-hot power play with the Avalanche, who have scored six goals in their last 13 chances.

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3: You’ll get your looks — make them count. Colorado has a high-octane offense. They have scored almost five goals per game over their last four matchups. But they take chances all over the ice, and as a result, have given up an average of 36 shots per game over their last six. You don’t want to get into a track meet with these guys, trading chances on every rush. Good defense leads to offense and chances. Semyon Varlamov is an elite goaltender, and it will probably be screen shots and rebounds that beat him.