The first matchup brought on an embarrassing 5-3 loss for Chicago, but the subsequent matchup reversed the role and Chicago destroyed the Wild 5-1.
So, what will be important for the Thursday night matchup between these two teams?
First off, the Blackhawks will need to find some level of consistency to preform at. The 2013 season thus far has brought varying levels of skill out to the ice, almost to the point where it seems like there are two different teams playing during any given matchup. It is important for Chicago to find the sweet spot that allows them to work well as a team and consistently find the back of the net.
In addition to consistency, the Blackhawks will need to work hard at keeping the puck out of their own zone. Many times, it seems, when the team is looking particularly tired, they have a hard time moving the puck toward the opponent’s goal, but once it gets there, they have no problem scoring. While it is great that the team can skate defensively to protect their net and help out the goalie, it tends to reflect poorly on the offense.
With that being said, another thing the Hawks need to focus on is their offense. This is, yet again, another argument within the realm of consistency. It is amazing how the Hawks can put up goals within seconds of each other, but that is just telling of the fact that they could be tapping into more talent than they are. The offensive ability within the Hawks’ roster starts with the intimidation of the first line and works its way throughout.
Even further, in regards to offense, the Hawks will need to find ways to make the most out of their scoring opportunities. It is great that on a regular basis they continue to put up more shots on goal than the opposition, but if it is not reflected in the scoreboard, then it is a useless statistic. One of the faults within the offense is that they tend to give up some great scoring opportunities, and that needs to be a thing of the past.
Overall, the Blackhawks’ organization has gone through a lot so far this season, but it should in no means hinder their progress going forward. Thursday night’s game against the Wild will be a chance for Chicago to rebound off of the embarrassing loss at home to the Dallas Stars, as well as an opportunity for the team to work at the things listed above.