Konroyd's keys for Blackhawks-Devils

Konroyd's keys for Blackhawks-Devils
December 23, 2013, 2:15 pm
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Steve Konroyd

1. Watch the Devils’ back end.  There are some names on this New Jersey squad that you may not have heard of, and they are very under rated in what they do. Andy Greene, Marek Zidlicky and Eric Gelinas all have 15 or more points. They join the Blackhawks and Blues as the only three teams in the NHL with three defensemen with 15 or more points. These three are easy to overlook, and they like to get involved with the play. Keep an eye on their defensemen.

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2. Power play needs to build momentum. Listen, it’s impossible to score every time you have a power play. What you can do is build momentum and get the crowd into it by making plays and getting shots on net. Through four power plays and eight minutes of power plays, Chicago managed just two shots on net against Vancouver in their last game. New Jersey comes in with the fifth best penalty kill in the NHL. Win draws, get shots, and get the crowd amped when you have the man advantage.

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3. Tight gaps make for tough skating: Chicago has defensemen who aren’t overly physical but are expert at separating the opposition from the puck. They rely on their quickness and back pressure from their own forwards to make life difficult for the puck carrier. They got away from this in the second period against Vancouver when they allowed 14 shots, and allowed the Canucks to get back into the game. The Devils don’t score a lot of goals, and if you can keep close gaps on Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias, and Michael Ryder you will have a really good chance of winning this game.