1. Blue collar mentality for a highly-skilled team. There aren’t many nights when the Chicago Blackhawks get outworked. But last night in Detroit was one of them. They lost board battles, loose puck battles, and their competitive level was not quite where it usually is. Maybe it was the dramatic win a couple of afternoons before, where they played one of the most exciting games of this season at the United Center, a Blackhawks’ shootout victory. There can be no lulls tonight where the Minnesota Wild have won two of their last three games and are expecting Zach Parise back in the lineup after having missed 14 games.
2. Win the special teams battle. Minnesota does not score a lot of goals. Only five other teams in the NHL have scored fewer goals as a team. When their power play scores, it is a huge bonus. It gives them momentum, and it gives their key players some confidence. They have not scored a power-play goal in their last six games. The PK for Chicago has been very good of late, and tonight they have to keep that up.
3. Go short and go hard. The Hawks are an amazing 9-0-3 in the second game of back-to-back games this year. That is truly remarkable when you consider that there is always travel involved, so not only are they playing two games in 24 hours, they are doing it on short sleep. Being energized and not staying on the ice too long is a great way to get into the game and get all four lines going.