Konroyd's keys to Game 3: Blackhawks-Wild

Konroyd's keys to Game 3: Blackhawks-Wild
May 6, 2014, 2:45 pm
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Steve Konroyd

1. Take the “wild” crowd out of the equation: The Minnesota Wild are one of three teams who have yet to lose a game at home in the playoffs. The other two are your Chicago Blackhawks and the Montreal Canadiens. They have allowed just three goals against while scoring eight in the three games they have played at the Xcel Energy Center. It can get noisy in that barn, so the best thing to do is score first and make sure the fans have nothing to get excited about, especially early in this game.

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2. Get to Bryz: Ilya Bryzgalov should be given a lot of credit for getting the Wild into the post season. He went 7-1-3 down the stretch for Minnesota and picked up 17 of a possible 22 points in the last five weeks of the season. But Bryz has lost all four of his starts in the postseason so far, and sports an ugly .833 save percentage against the Hawks. Rebounds and high shots have been a problem for him in the series, and at times he has made poor decisions when coming out of his cage to play the puck. Lots of shots, especially high, and force him to make a bad decisions when he wants to play the puck.

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3. Keep the special teams special: The Blackhawks have been perfect killing penalties in this series so far and currently rank first in the NHL at almost a 94 percent kill rate. The power play is not far behind, and have dinged the Wild with two power play goals on six chances, which doesn’t include Brandan Saad’s tally last game that came one second after a Minnesota penalty expired. The penalty kill reflects your goaltending and team defense, and for the Hawks it’s been really good. Stay out of the box, and when you get a chance with the man advantage, get pucks to the net and build offensive momentum.