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NHL Chicago Blackhawks

5 Things Chicago Blackhawks Must Do to Win the Central Division and Beyond

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Things Blackhawks Must Do to Win Central Division & Beyond

Jonathan Toews
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks suffered another painful loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night, this one a shootout after blowing three two-goal leads. The Blackhawks are now 0-2-1 against the Blues. However, the Hawks still lead the Central Division. Is this a fluke?

Of course not.

The Hawks are still 27-7-7 and have only lost in regulation once in their last 11 games and are in first in the division with St. Louis behind them. And they've run over many of their division opponents, it's just that the Blues have stood in their way each and every time and it's starting to get frustrating. The Hawks can certainly recover and win some important games, but the division will have to be given priority.

That's why we've created this list, to show what the Hawks need to do in order to wrap up the division. Sure, there are certainly obvious things that need to be done, like winning games, but there's more than that. A team can win games but if they're bad on all areas of the game, then there's no chance they can win the division. It's the obvious and not-so obvious things that need to be addressed in order for the Hawks to win.

They can certainly win the division, there's little doubt about that. But there's also the playoffs the Hawks need to worry about. If these flaws carry over into the postseason, then they could come back and bite them where it hurts. So let's get started and see what the Hawks have to do.

Paul Chancey is a Chicago Blackhawks writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ChanceyPaul and add him to your network at Google+

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5. Stay Focused

nick leddy
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

This one was obvious, but it must be said. The Blackhawks are still in good position to win the division, and if they keep winning games they're sure to win the division. They'll need to stay focused on the task at hand, and recover from this loss, something they're good at doing.

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4. Fix The Penalty Kill

jonathan toews
Mike Strasinger-USA TODAY Sports

This has been mentioned a few times, but it bears repeating. The Hawks' penalty kill let them down again on Saturday, letting in an easy goal. Whatever head coach Joel Quenneville had been doing prior to then should be re-emphasized so that it can get better.

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3. Solidify the Defense

seabrook keith
Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports

This one goes hand-in-hand with the penalty kill. The Hawks' defensive pairings are doing rather well, but they tend to have lapses late in games. They'll need to play a complete and dominating game to keep as many pucks away from their goaltenders as possible. And that leads us to...

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2. Play Complete Games

saad hjalmarsson
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

As mentioned in an earlier article, the Blackhawks cannot get complacent. All four phases--offense, defense, goaltending, special teams--must step up and play like it's Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. There are no excuses for letting these games slip away. But what could be No. 1?

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1. Beat the Blues

brandon bollig
Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

That's not just a pun, it's a fact. The Hawks cannot lose any more games to the Blues. If they go winless against their rivals to the southwest, then the Blues could have a massive psychological advantage going into a potential playoff series and it's very likely this could happen. The Blues are going to be on the Hawks' tail for the rest of the season, so they'd better get to work on that and fast.