NHL Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks Quarterfinal Notes: Chapter 3

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s chapter of Chicago Blackhawks Quarterfinal Notes finds the Blackhawks smarting after a 3-2 overtime loss on Sunday to the Minnesota Wild. Simply put, it was a sloppy game that saw the Blackhawks being outmuscled by the Wild. The score would’ve been much more lopsided had Corey Crawford not been on his game.

Here comes the broken record. The one thing the Blackhawks need to improve is their power play. Compared to the effort put into it in the first two games, the power play in Game Three was abysmal to the point that it should’ve been taken out back and put out of its misery. You can’t hope to score on the power play if you don’t shoot, and you can’t shoot if you’re in your own zone.

The Blackhawks need to focus on the game at hand and work on getting pucks to the net. That sounds very clichéd, but if they want a chance at a goal, they have to do that. Their behavior on Sunday was more of just trying to win that third game in general instead of concentrating on the game itself. They need to bring back their concentration to what’s happening and not be so impatient with passing and shooting.

It’s no surprise that each team will stick to their same goalies for tonight’s game, as both have given solid performances so far. This is especially true with Crawford, who seemed to be the only player awake on Sunday afternoon and pretty much saved the game for the Blackhawks even though they lost. I’ll go out on a limb right now and say that if he keeps it up and the Blackhawks make the Stanley Cup Final, he could be a strong Conn Smythe contender.

On the injury front, Jason Pominville practiced with the Wild again today but is a gametime decision. For the Blackhawks, Dave Bolland and Ray Emery will be sitting it out again, though coach Joel Quenneville said that Emery is close to returning. Bolland isn’t far behind him and has been chomping at the bit to return.

Lastly, a hearty mazel tov goes out to Duncan Keith and his wife Kelly-Rae, who became parents of a baby boy today. The new daddy will be flying back to St. Paul for the game tonight, so perhaps he’ll win it for the Blackhawks as Patrick Sharp did after the birth of his daughter.