1: Meet me in St Louis and get ready for a tough first 20 minutes. The St. Louis Blues have scored the most first-period goals of any team in the NHL. They come out of the gates fast, and should be well rested as they haven’t had a game in the last five days. As a side note, the team that has scored the first goal in their last four meetings has gone on to win the game.
2: The M.O. in MO is grind them till they falter. Not only is St. Louis big up front, but they like to hit. In fact, part of their gameplan is to forecheck with tenacity to get you to turn puck over. First passes and clean breakouts will be a key for the Blackhawks, so they don’t spend a lot of time in their own end.
3: The Blues D can be beaten with foot speed. The Blackhawks have one of the quickest teams in the league. They can make slow defensemen look silly on the ice. Guys like Barret Jackman, Roman Polak and Wade Redden can be beaten by getting pucks in behind them and using a cycle. Chicago’s third line of Andrew Shaw, Bryan Bickell and Viktor Stalberg have done a great job of this lately.