1. Learn from the Bulls
The Blackhawks brethren from the United Center, the Bulls, had a pretty impressive win on Monday evening in Cleveland. They never trailed and dominated for most of the game. However, that wasn't the case Wednesday night and part of the problem was what head coach Tom Thibodeau characterized as “feeling too good about ourselves” after such a strong performance in Game 1. The Blackhawks have been in this situation before and never take anything for granted. They realize that a win earns them some extra rest, and with Anaheim coughing up a late lead in Calgary and losing in OT, they know they will get to sit and watch an extra game or two before the Western Conference Finals start. Stay focused and in the moment.
2. Keep up the strong kills
A key point in Game 3 was the Hawks first penalty kill about 7 1/2 minutes into the contest. A power play goal would have had the Xcel Energy Center going amped up and going crazy. Instead, a smart and efficient penalty kill took the crowd, and life, out of Minnesota. Short shifts, great clears, and taking away shooting lanes prevented Minnesota from getting any shots with the man advantage. They ended up with a total of just three shots on six minutes of power play time. Don’t give the Wild any life on the power play.
3. Continue the rush game
Looking back at the goals Chicago has scored in this series, seven of their nine goals have come off the rush. That is not what you’d expect in a playoff game, where typically you have to earn your ice and grind out goals with greasy plays. This has not been the case so far. Attacks and counter attacks have given the edge to Chicago in the speed game. Keep protecting your lines, breakout with clean plays and passes, and continue putting pucks on Devan Dubnyk, who has looked pretty ordinary in this series so far.