1. Win the one-on-one battles: The Bruins won the battle of the boards (and the face off dot) in Game 3 of this series, and it helped them control large segments of the game. Two lost battles for loose pucks led to Boston’s first and ultimately game winning goal. A puck battle is all about compete level, and against the Bruins you have to bring it up a notch because they want the puck like a hungry Rottweiler wants steak. You don’t have to bowl anyone ever to get possession of the puck, but you do have to be quick with your stick and anticipating where it might end up.
2. This is officially a broken record – power play needs to do something: The first three power plays for Chicago in Boston yielded one shot on net when the game was still up for grabs. That’s six minutes of playing time and one shot. That’s not even Chicago’s average in a game where they muster roughly one shot every two minutes in 5-on-5 play. Face offs, entries, and passing all have to be better. Maybe it’s time to get some muckers involved to bring it back to the basics, but something has to change. Talk about momentum killers, but the Bruins had three semi-breakaways on Chicago’s second power play, and from then on controlled the rest of the game.
3. Better shot selection on Rask: The Blackhawks were credited with 10 shots on net in the first period. Sounds respectable, until you see where the shots were taken from. Eight of the 10 shots were from outside the face off circles, almost against the boards! The only shot that was from inside the face off dots was by Michael Frolik, and it was from 50 feet out with no traffic. We got lucky and beat Jonathan Quick with a few shots that were unscreened, but that’s not going to happen against Tuukka Rask. I’m a strong believer of a shot on net being a good play, but that changes when you have a goalie of Rask’s ability. He’s so good at gobbling up pucks or pushing rebounds to his own guys that you have to wait for traffic or aim for someone heading to the net for a redirection. You’re not going to score if he sees it.