Konroyd's keys to Blackhawks-Wild

Konroyd's keys to Blackhawks-Wild
April 9, 2013, 1:30 pm
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Steve Konroyd

1. Score the first goal: Minnesota has been hot at home of late. They have five straight wins on home ice, and are 9-2-1 in their last 12 home tilts. Chicago owns an amazing 19-2 record when they record the first goal. A good start with a goal will be important tonight in Minnesota, where this team thrives in front of the home crowd.

2. Fine tune time, let’s work on the power play: It’s no secret, you want good goaltending and a good power play going into the playoffs. The Blackhawks have 10 games left to work on little areas of their game that are in need of improvement. This is one of them. One power play goal in your last 20 attempts is not the kind of power play that strikes fear into the opposition. Patrick Sharp's return will certainly be a boost to the unit. Time to simplify, shots from the point and people at the net.

[MORE: Sharp ready, eager for his return against Minnesota]

3. Limit Wild shots: They come out fast and hard at the Xcel Energy Center. The Wild fired 15 shots in the first period the last time the Hawks were in town on Jan. 30. Guys like Zach Parise and Ryan Suter up their game when they play Chicago. Charlie Coyle, a solid rookie, has three goals in his last five games. Limit shots early and you limit their effectiveness. Hawks have averaged just 23 shots-against in their last fives games.