1: Play the same way; ramp up the intensity: The Blackhawks have had a very successful regular season, one of the most successful in NHL history. They were the model of consistency in almost every single game. Their modus operandi was to pay attention to defense first, and score when you create turnovers and get the chance. The only thing that has to change for them is the intensity level. Nothing matches the intensity of the playoffs where every shift can determine a game or even sometimes a whole series. Time to amp it up.
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2: Get to Backstrom early: Niklas Backstrom is an elite goalie, even if his numbers this year don’t really reflect that. He stumbled towards the finish line, with a 5-9 record and .882 save percentage over his last 14 starts. Not a lot of depth in the Wild net, so get to the starter and get him thinking about all the skill he’s going to see.
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3: Your penalty killing was a strength; keep it that way: The Blackhawks killed off 45 of the last 47 penalties they took. That was a 96 percent kill rate over the last 20 games of the season. It moved them from eighth to third overall in the league in that department. Nothing builds momentum like a power play goal, especially for teams that are offensively challenged like Minnesota. Stay out of the box (Blackhawks were the least penalized team in the league this year) and continue the excellent short-handed play.