The Chicago Blackhawks are looking to take a 2-0 series lead over the Minnesota Wild on Sunday night, and in order to accomplish that feat, they will need the help of three key players as they hit the United Center ice.
The first game of the series was kind to Richards, as he picked up an assist on Patrick Kane’s first period goal and racked up four shots on goal in the contest.
There are two areas that Richards needs to clean up in if the Blackhawks are going to be successful in Game 2 of the series. The first on that list is discipline, as his tripping penalty in the third period threatened to derail the team’s momentum in that frame. The second on the list is his performance in the face-off dot, where he only won two out of 10 draws in the contest.
The Blackhawks are already suffering from a lack of depth on the blue line during this postseason, and Rozsival’s continued sloppy play isn’t helping matters. His poor defense led directly to a Minnesota goal in Game 1 of the series, and his second period penalty allowed the Wild to score a power play tally that further aided their comeback attempt.
The Hawks don’t need a lot of Rozsival. Simply put, they need him not to be a liability when he’s on the ice. If he can play disciplined hockey and position himself effectively, his effort would be considered a successful one. If he can’t, then it puts even more pressure on the top four defensemen, and that’s not something they need at this point in the postseason.
The Blackhawks have seen their top line play some great hockey on both sides of the ice during the playoffs, but on Friday night they were kept in check by Minnesota. Toews did have three shots on goal in the game, but he wasn’t able to get on the scoresheet as he was well-defended and frequently checked throughout the game.
The odds are strong that Toews will have a bounce-back game, and the Hawks will definitely need it. The Minnesota offense is a good one, and they will get plenty of chances, and the Blackhawks need to convert on theirs.