Konroyd's keys for Blackhawks-Stars

Konroyd's keys for Blackhawks-Stars
December 3, 2013, 2:00 pm
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(AP Images)
Steve Konroyd

1. Welcome Home but don’t relax.  We’ve heard it all before. After an extended road trip — especially a very successful one — a team returning home finds they have left their game on the road. Comfortable surroundings, a friendly crowd, and a sense of accomplishment in the dressing room — these are the ingredients for a “let down” game. Your attitude has to be the same at home as it was on the road; short shifts, all-out effort, and an “us versus the world” mentality. And yes, scoring first would really help the cause.

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2. Pressure Dallas' defense. In the Blackhawks' last game against the Stars just four nights ago, Dallas was dealt a serious blow to their playoff hopes when defenseman Stephane Robidas suffered a broken leg. He was part of their No.1 shut-down pairing and he’ll really be missed these next four months. 6-foot-7 Jamie Oleksiak was his replacement the next game, and they suffered a loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Put pressure on this group by getting pucks deep and forcing them with a good fore check. 

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3. Battle of the fourth lines. Dallas’ trio of Ryan Garbutt, Vern Fiddler and Antoine Roussel have been the Stars' best line the last three games. They were also the Stars' fourth line, but have been getting second-line minutes of late. Chicago’s fourth-line threesome of Marcus Kruger, Ben Smith and Brandon Bollig were maybe the most consistent line the Blackhawks had during the Circus Trip. They work hard every shift and do all the little things right. These three are playing with a lot of confidence right now, and if they chip in with a goal, it would certainly help the cause.