1. Score the first goal: Sounds simple enough. Chicago is 34-1-7 when scoring first. But why does it mean so much to the Blackhawks, and a lot of other NHL teams? It gives them momentum, it gets them feeling good about themselves, and most importantly they are not chasing the game – trying to manufacture offense and forcing plays. In the 3 straight losses on the road, the Hawks failed to score the games first goal.
2. Chicago’s defense needs to be better: The Blackhawks defense are a huge strength to this team. They move quickly, spend very little time in their own zone with smart breakout passes, and play aggressively -always pinching at the right time. That has not been happening lately, where they have turned the puck over a number of times in their own zone, and the aggressive pinches at the opposition’s blue line has cost them odd man rushes and goals. Better decisions and better play from this core group is a must heading into the playoffs.
3. Be aware of Minnesota's top Line: Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, and Charlie Coyle were put together as a line just 4 periods ago. They have scored 4 goals in those 80 minutes, including a couple of game winners. Two of these forwards are 6’3”, and the other – Zach Parise – is a sub 6 footer who plays like he’s 6’5”. Make sure you are aware when they are on the ice, and no turnovers in your own zone when these guys are hounding you.