Konroyd's three keys for Blackhawks-Jets

Konroyd's three keys for Blackhawks-Jets
November 6, 2013, 12:45 pm
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Steve Konroyd

1: Match the Jets' speed. Although the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-1 just four days ago, don’t let the score mislead you. They outshot the Blackhawks in two of the three periods, and if not for a meltdown by Jets starting netminder Ondrej Pavelec -- who allowed three goals on four shots in the second period -- the outcome could have been different. The Jets just beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-2 at home, and outshot them 45-28 for the game. That’s the most shots they’ve had in regulation this year, and if not for some great goaltending by Jimmy Howard, it might have been a lot more lopsided. Guys like Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little, Andrew Ladd, Mark Scheifele, Michael Frolik, and Devin Setoguchi can fly. 

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2: Keep the power play humming. The Hawks have scored power-play goals in seven of their last eight games. In fact, the only game in that stretch where they didn’t, Niklas Hjalmarsson scored just as a Jets penalty expired. The Blackhawks are shooting early and often and they had nine power play shots against the Flames in their last game, an overtime loss. Get shots through and get to loose pucks. With Chicago native Al Montoya starting in net, he plays deep in his net and there will be rebounds.

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3: Beware of "Big Buff." It’s been a tough year for Dustin Byfuglien so far in the ‘Peg. He has no goals on 52 shots, is a minus-6, and is looking for a breakout game. The fans still like him here in Chicago, and he would love nothing better than to score one against his former team and jumpstart his game. In his last game against Detroit, he fell a couple of times on the power play with the puck, and gave up a clear cut break away to Stephen Weiss, who was stopped by Montoya. Byfuglien will be focused and determined tonight. Watch out for his slapshot, one of the hardest in the NHL.