Konroyd's keys to Blackhawks-Flames

Konroyd's keys to Blackhawks-Flames
March 26, 2013, 12:30 pm
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Steve Konroyd

1. Defense first: The Blackhawks have given up nine goals in their last two games, both losses. In fact, they have given up 11 goals in their last two home games at the United Center, something that rarely happens to coach Joel Quenneville's team. Their goals-against average this year is a little over two goals against per game, which is outstanding. They have to get back to that average. They gave up 37 shots to a hungry Los Angeles team last night, and 17 of those came in the third period. Time to tighten up your own end.

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2. Calgary thinks they’re owed one: The last time these two teams played, Chicago was outplayed, outchanced, and outhustled by the Flames. It was the Hawks' third game in four nights, but they managed to steal this win on the outstanding play of goaltender Ray Emery. Calgary will come into tonight figuring they are owed one. Don’t let this be the game. From the drop of the puck, it has to be will before skill.

3. Stay disciplined on the ice: The Blackhawks have only taken eight minor penalties over their last five games. That will help the team out overall because their penalty kill has slipped from second to eighth over a 6-game stretch where they gave up eight goals on only 16 attempts. You want to stay out of the box against the Flames, where they have scored six power play goals in their last 17 attempts. This has been one of the few bright spots for this team of late. They’ve also scored three shorthanded goals in their last 10 games.