1. Big dogs have to show some bite: Chicago knows where it stands. Win this game and it’s a two-out-of-three series with home-ice advantage. Lose it and you have to win three of the next four. Drawing from past experience as a player with the Blackhawks in the playoffs, in the 1990 Western Conference finals we grabbed a two-games-to-one lead on the Edmonton Oilers with Game 4 at the Chicago Stadium. We felt confident in having won a game in Edmonton and then winning our first game back at home in Chicago. Mark Messier took it upon himself to change that series in one game. From start to finish, he was the best player on the ice in Game 4. They went on to win that game and the series and then the Stanley Cup in the next round. Chicago has a lot of Messiers on this team, and it’s time to stand up and be noticed.
2. Your power play must ignite your offense: I’m a strong believer in your power play getting your even-strength play going. Chicago has scored a total of two goals in its last two games against Detroit. Patrick Kane scored both, and they both came at even strength. The power play has not been a factor in the playoffs so far. Not only does it ignite your even-strength play, but the opposition is a lot less likely to play with an edge, which Detroit has done the last two games. They don’t want to be sitting in the box when the other team scores. Make them pay when they take a penalty. And try to be better than 1-for-7 on your faceoffs when you’ve got the man advantage. That’s what Chicago did in Game 3, and that helps the penalty killers.
3. Keep it low on Howie: The Blackhawks fired 40 shots at Red Wings netminder Jimmy Howard, and unfortunately a lot where targeted at his belly and glove. Shots like that kill plays. Howard is great at absorbing shots in his midsection, and his glove rarely gives the puck back. Low shots have the chance to become rebounds. The Blackhawks have not scored many rebound goals in the postseason, and that has got to change.