1. Make the power play count. Chicago’s power play looked very good against the Detroit Red Wings in their last game. Shots on net and puck retrieval were big keys, as were winning loose puck battles with the extra man. This will be important tonight as the Philadelphia Flyers are the most penalized team in the NHL. They try to intimidate you in their own rink, and tend to take some needless penalties. Make them pay and gain some momentum with a potent power play.
2. Get to Razor early. Ray Emery was an important part of the Blackhawks success last year as their backup goalie. Going 17-1-3 in your limited time between the pipes is pretty impressive for any netminder. What wasn’t impressive was Ray’s start against his former team this past December. He allowed six goals on 18 shots, and was pulled early in the second period. Lots of shots with bodies toward the net was a recipe for success the last time the Hawks faced Emery; same thing tonight.
3. Big night for Sharpie. I thought Patrick Sharp looked the best he’s been since coming back from the Olympics in February. He had energy and anticipation against the Red Wings, and was the fastest player on the ice. He also finished with seven shots on net, the most of anyone on either team. This is important because Sharpie has only scored one goal in his last 12 contests. The good news he had one goal and two assists the last time these teams played. He was traded by the Flyers to the Blackhawks back in 2005, and Patrick always plays with a little more zip against his former team.