1. Need a better start. The Blackhawks have not had good starts in their last three games and have not scored first in any of those contests. They have lost all three games. They were down by two goals to both the San Jose Sharks and New York Rangers and were still able to come back to tie before ultimately losing the game. Shots against have been a real problem, and the Hawks have given up an average of 37 shots in those three losses. This is a lot higher than their league average of just 27 shots-against per game.
[MORE: Tonight on CSN: Blackhawks host Oilers]
2. The puck is your jewel – protect it. Hockey is a game of turnovers. You just have to make sure you are turning the puck over in the other team’s zone, so that you have at least 150 feet to recover and get back. The Hawks have been turning pucks over in their own zone and neutral zone a lot lately. When you’re thinking offense and the other team comes up with the puck, bad things tend to happen. Puck management and puck decisions have to be a lot better. This includes needless icings, which wound up costing the Hawks the games first goal in Montreal last night.
3. Fight off these “dog days” of winter. This is the sixth game in the last 11 days for the Hawks. If you back it up a bit more, since Christmas, this is their ninth game in 17 nights. Throw in the excitement of having 10 players on this team being picked to play for their country in the upcoming Olympics, and you are bound to have some off nights. One thing this team excels in is focus, and they have to readjust their focus and start breaking games down into meaningful segments to get over this stretch. Every shift is important, and you never know when a game will turn on what you think is just a routine play.