Five changes Blackhawks could make in Game 4
posted at 6/19/2013 9:07 AM EDT
1. Erase Boston's advantage at the dot
"Chicago lost 40 of the 56 faceoffs, including 24 of 28 to Patrice Bergeron. Michal Handzus was 0-for-10 through two periods and then didn't take a draw in the third. Bolland was 1-for-8 through two periods, and he, too, didn't take another faceoff in the third period. Jonathan Toews lost 11 of his 19 faceoffs.
The Blackhawks were particularly bad in the offensive zone, where they lost 17 of 23 faceoffs. They were 1-for-7 when they were on the power play. Chicago lost 12 of 17 faceoffs in the defensive zone and 11 of 16 in the neutral zone."
I don't see this changing.
2. Simplify their entries on the power play
"Chicago's power play has been problematic -- and that's putting it lightly. More to the point, the Blackhawks' power play is absolutely killing their entire game. Not only is it getting shut out (0-for-11 in the Cup Final), it's taking momentum away from the rest of Chicago's game.
However, if Chicago uses this style, it has to beat the Bruins to the puck. If it doesn't, Boston is essentially putting a box around the puck, sealing it off and clearing it down 200 feet."
Where has this been discussed before ?
3. Shift Kane around on the power play
Patrick Kane plays on the right-wing half-wall when the Blackhawks are on the power play. He's typically dangerous there, but remember that is also the area Bruins captain Zdeno Chara patrols. If Chicago is going to dump the puck in and have it go into their right corner, the odds of Kane winning the puck battle against Chara are slim.
However, if the Blackhawks moved Kane around on the power play, maybe shift him to the left side on their entries and have Jonathan Toews on the right side, that could give them a chance to win more battles in that right corner so they could free the puck up and have Kane dangerous on the left-wall. Since he's a lefty, he may also be able to protect the puck there and make plays.
See answer to #2
4. Put the big guns back together
"Chicago hasn't scored a goal in the past 122:26. To break the slump, it's time for Quenneville to load up his top line and put Sharp, Toews and Kane together.
"Usually when we're put together it's a situation when we need to score, we're chasing from behind, so the mindset is hop the boards with that attack-first mentality, get to the net, make something happen," Sharp said.
They need that mentality now. They need to score."
Loading up one line is not the answer and never has been.
5. Raise the battle level and get to the front of the net
The Bruins are arguably the best team in the NHL at protecting their goalie and sealing off the slot. They rarely break structure and they're so big on the back end that even when teams put in a full effort to get to the front of the net, they still find it quite difficult to establish position there.
"They do have a tight game, play a tight house and get back there quickly," Bolland said.
"The non-puck carriers have got to be willing to travel there," Quenneville said. "It's tough to get the puck, but we've got to be willing, the non-puck carriers, to get there. I thought we did a real good job in the L.A. series. At times in this series we've had more presence at the front of the net. That's what we've got to be looking to do: travel, get there, make sure [goalie Tuukka Rask] doesn't see the puck."
A key is recognition. The Blackhawks have to be aware of when there is even the slightest of openings to get to the net and who is playing against them. For example, if it's Chara and they can take him to the front of the net, then Chicago could force him to act as a screen in front of Rask.
"The more you get Chara or Seidenberg in front of him, it's going to be worse for him," Bolland said. "For us, it's just battling and getting them to the net, moving."
This is where Chicago will go to draw penalties tonight.