The Chicago Blackhawks stole home ice advantage with a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Friday night, and they’ll look to keep things rolling on Sunday afternoon when they contest Game 3 at the United Center.
The Blackhawks’ win on Friday knotted up the series at a game apiece, and it was all set up by a key challenge by Joel Quenneville and his coaching staff. After Vladimir Tarasenko appeared to score his second goal of the game to give the Blues a lead in the third period, the Blackhawks challenged the play, and officials ultimately ruled that Jori Lehtera entered the zone offside, and the goal was disallowed.
After that, an Andrew Shaw goal (which was upheld after two different video reviews) was just the recipe that the Blackhawks were looking for as they won the game and tied things up in the series.
On Sunday, the Blackhawks are going to have to make a few minor adjustments in order to keep things going their way, and we have three keys to success as the Hawks look to grab the series lead.
More Production From Teravainen
Teuvo Teravainen came into the playoffs as one of the players that the Blackhawks likely needed to get some secondary production from, but he’s been largely absent in this series, finishing as the worst possession forward on the Blackhawks in Game 2 of the series with a minus-9 Corsi in the contest.
With the Blackhawks heading home, Quenneville will be able to dictate line matchups, and if he gets Teuvo into favorable positions, then the forward has got to step up his game. This team desperately needs more scoring at even strength, and a good way to get it is from an athletic center that is one of the best puck-movers on the team.
More Puck Discipline
The Blackhawks were incredibly sloppy with the puck at times during their game on Friday night, and their turnovers ultimately led to disaster as Tarasenko scored after a bad Michal Rozsival turnover in the defensive zone in the second period.
Teravainen also had a few bad moments with the puck in the game, and the team overall needs to do a better job of making passes and avoiding skating into traps on the ice. The Blues are a really solid forechecking team (a trait that has helped make them one of the best penalty killing groups in the league), and the Hawks don’t need to be doing them any favors by being careless with the puck.
More Help on Back End
The Blackhawks’ defensive corps has been a question mark all season long, and while they have been decent in the playoffs (and should continue to be, with Duncan Keith back in the mix), the team still has to work on their discipline if they’re going to make a run this postseason.
Tarasenko’s disallowed goal is a great example of this. Both Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson went below the goal line to chase after the puck, and Hjalmarsson even hit Lehtera as he circled back behind the net.
Unfortunately, Hjalmarsson didn’t hit him hard enough, and he was able to feather a pass out to the front of the net. There, Tarasenko skated in all alone thanks to a defensive miscue by Artem Anisimov (who has to recognize where his defenders are) and fired a shot past Corey Crawford.
The defensemen for the Blackhawks need to clean up their game a bit, and the forwards have to recognize when the blue liners are in a potentially vulnerable position if they’re going to grab a series lead.