Konroyd's keys to Blackhawks-Red Wings: Game 1

Konroyd's keys to Blackhawks-Red Wings: Game 1

May 15, 2013, 12:45 pm
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Game Date Location Time/Result
1 Wed., May 15 United Center (W) 4-1
2 Sat., May 18 United Center (L) 4-1
3 Mon., May 20 Joe Louis Arena (L) 3-1
4 Thurs., May 23 Joe Louis Arena L 1-0
5 Sat., May 25 United Center W 4-1
6* Mon., May 27 Joe Louis Arena TBD
7* Wed., May 29 United Center TBD
* If necessary | All times Central
Steve Konroyd

1. These aren’t your regular-season Red Wings: Chicago won all four meetings against the Detroit Red Wings this year. In fact, they have beaten Detroit seven straight times, dating back a couple of years. But look a little closer and you’ll see a lot of close games. Throw out the 7-1 trouncing by the Blackhawks in late March, and each of the remaining games were won by just one goal. In fact, in the three other wins this year, one took an overtime and two went to shootouts. Detroit was forced to win their last 4 games just to make it to the postseason. They have upped their game and Chicago has to be ready.

[MORE: Hawks-Wings: Who has the advantage?]

2. Beware of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg: The Russian and Swede are playing their best hockey of the season. That wasn’t the case when Chicago saw them in the regular season. These two players, along with goaltender Jimmy Howard, were responsible for Detroit upsetting Anaheim in seven games. In Game 7, head coach Mike Babcock decided to split up the dynamic duo, and it paid off. Chicago has the depth on the back end to handle this, but they have to be aware whenever No. 13 or 40 are on the ice.

3. PK has been great, PP needs to get there: The old axiom about special teams and goaltending winning playoff games carries a lot of weight, and it’s especially important the farther you go in the postseason. Detroit was very good with the man-advantage against Anaheim, going 6-for-25 with the extra attacker. Although Chicago went 2-for-15 against Minnesota, one of the goals was during a two-man advantage, and a lot of times Minnesota gained momentum after a strong kill. Chicago needs movement and they need shots getting through, and that should provide some excitement for the power play.