Konroyd's keys for Game 4 of Blackhawks-Wild

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Konroyd's keys for Game 4 of Blackhawks-Wild

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.

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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.

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Stars: Another slow start but better finish

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Stars: Another slow start but better finish

It wasn't pretty, but the Blackhawks found a way to pick up another two points and improved to 6-0-1 over their last seven games, and 18-3-1 over their last 22.

With Minnesota's loss to Philadelphia, the Blackhawks have taken an eight-point lead for first in the Central Division and are only two points away from the Washington Capitals for home-ice advantage throughout the entire Stanley Cup playoffs.

Let's take a look at Quick Hits from the 3-2 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night:

What Worked: The finish and shootout. While the Blackhawks scored the game's first goal, it was another slow start by a team that has had a few of those over the last several outings and has preached working on turning in more of a complete effort. They recorded only 14 shots on goal in the first two periods, and it took more than six minutes after Patrick Kane's goal to record their next one.

But they finished on a positive note yet again, and went 2-for-3 in the shootout thanks to Kane and Artemi Panarin, who potted the game winner. Kane said after the game that he tried his move on Scott Darling during morning skate and it worked. So he went with it tonight in an effort to snap a mini shootout drought and he did.

What Didn't Work: Controlling the puck. The Blackhawks seemingly have the puck more than their opponent does almost every game, but it doesn't reflect in the shot department because they often look for the perfect pass or shot and fail to record one at all. They had 50 shot attempts with 26 of them on goal compared to the Stars' 64 attempts with 44 on goal. They know they must get better at that.

Star of the game: Corey Crawford. After allowing four goals on only 10 shots in Tuesday's overtime loss to Vancouver, the Blackhawks netminder bounced back in a huge way. He matched a season-high with 42 saves, and recorded his 30th win of the season.

He Said It: "He played amazing tonight. Reason we won the game. Hats off to him, he's done that a lot this year. For a goalie it's probably tough to show up every night, even the goals he let in last game you can't put all the blame on him, but he was outstanding tonight." — Kane on Crawford's performance

By the Numbers:

167 — Niklas Hjalmarsson blocked one shot in the win, and it was enough to set a new career high in that department, previously established during the 2010-11 campaign (166).

15 — Trevor van Riemsyk assisted on Marian Hossa's goal in the third period, giving him a career-high 15 points on the season in 50 games. He had 14 points in 82 games last year. He also extended his point streak to three games.

6 — With the victory, Crawford has earned at least 30 wins in six of his seven NHL seasons as a full-time starter. The only time he didn't reach that mark was during the lockout-shortened year in 2012-13 when he went 19-5-5.

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