It was all Anaheim in Game One, but the Chicago Blackhawks are looking to even things up tonight against the Ducks. NHL.com did another 'three keys' preview for this game. Once again, I am blatantly stealing it.
Silence top guns again
Anaheim's top line was not very effective in Game 1. Ryan Getzlaf managed two shots and a secondary assist on the empty-net goal. Corey Perry had two shots and no points, which was the same line for Patrick Maroon. That trio had 35 points in the first nine games, so the ability to keep them off the scoreboard provides Chicago with the best opportunity to come out ahead when Game 2 ends.
Protect the 'D'
Chicago can't stop Anaheim's fleet of big forwards from barreling into the zone, but the Blackhawks need to slow them down, allowing the defenders a vital second to move the puck and avoid being pasted against the end boards.
One way to get the top guns going, especially after a long layoff, is to get them more ice time. The best way to do that is on the power play, which is struggling for Chicago at the moment.
Wipe slate clean
"We feel we have a lot more to give too. When you win a game, you don't want to overanalyze it too much, but there are a lot of things we feel we can do better and I am sure they feel the same way," Fowler said. "I expect to see another high-tempo, high-paced Game 2. We have to play that game like we are the ones down 0-1, we have to have that mentality, because if they go back to Chicago 1-1 and steal a game here, it changes the whole series."
Protect the house
In the wake of the brilliant performance by Frederik Andersen in Game 1, the Blackhawks trotted out the usual laments of a frustrated team. They said they needed to get more traffic around Andersen, they need to generate more rebounds. They need to take away the sightlines of the Anaheim goalie. These are not ideal words, however. Chicago will come hard into the valuable real estate around Andersen. They plan to send forwards to the net and create havoc around the goalie, creating the chaos that will limit his effectiveness.
The effect of getting in on the forecheck was tangible from the early part of Game 1 and it only intensified as the game went along. The Ducks know Chicago is leaning heavily on its top four defensemen. The addition of Kyle Cumiskey into the lineup, if it happens, will do little to alter that equation. Keith will still play close to 30 minutes and Seabrook and Hjalmarsson will be above 25 minutes.