Konroyd's keys to Hurricanes-Blackhawks

Konroyd's keys to Hurricanes-Blackhawks
March 21, 2014, 3:00 pm
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Steve Konroyd

1. Keep playing the same way: hard-nosed in the tough areas. The Blackhawks played maybe their best game of the year against the best team in the league, the St. Louis Blues, in their last game a couple of nights ago. They put pucks deep, got pucks back, and didn’t back away from the rough stuff. I thought a turning point in the first period was Patrick Kane getting belted to the ice by David Backes, and 10 seconds later going back for more against the much larger captain of St. Louis. That shows heart, and it was great to see Bryan Bickell jump in after the second Kane/Backes collision. When Bix showed up, Backes skated away. Both benches were keenly aware of this and it certainly sparked the Hawks.

[MORE: Blackhawks aim to keep up momentum vs. Hurricanes]

2. Respect Hurricane Speed. The Carolina Hurricanes are struggling this year to make the playoffs. They are nine points out with four teams to leapfrog to try and qualify for the postseason. What this team does possess is speed. Skinner, Gerbe, and the Staal brothers all have above average speed. They are especially dangerous shorthanded, where their 10 goals rank second best in the league. Respect their quickness, and no turnovers before the center red line.

[RELATED: Teuvo Teravainen ready for opportunity with the Blackhawks]

3. Let your depth be a strength - again. Awfully tough when you take two of your best wingers out of tonight’s game. Both Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell will be huge holes to fill for Chicago. But look at what has happened to Ben Smith since being promoted from fourth line wing to second line center. It has sparked that line, and they are hoping the Jeremy Morin, just up from Rockford, can have the same type of effect on his line. Peter Regin is playing a lot better of late, so let the new faces shine. David Rundblad will get his second look on defense.