It won’t be easy, but it can be done. The Chicago Blackhawks, down 2-0 to the St. Louis Blues after two very sloppy and terrible games, can certainly come back. They did it against the Detroit Red Wings, and they almost did it against the Vancouver Canucks.
The problem is, the Blues are in the Hawks’ heads, and they’re pushing them around, forcing them to play an unacceptable style of play.
The first thing the Hawks can do to get back in this series is to stop doing what the Blues want them to do. Looking at stories about the series, a Hawks fan can sense a bias towards the Blues if they look hard enough. Unfortunately, that bias is warranted, what with them hurting their classy reputation with cheap shots and dirty play (Brent Seabrook and Bryan Bickell, I’m looking at you). But without Seabrook, they’ll have a mighty task ahead.
In order to stop doing what the Blues want them to do, they will need to play the same way they did in their two victories over the Blues: smart and fast. Out-skating the Blues is an almost guaranteed way to win. The Hawks are built on speed, puck possession and finesse. It’s how they’ve used these skills to their advantage that’s helped them win two Stanley Cups against two very physical teams. The Blue aren’t known for skaters except for T.J. Oshie, and the Hawks can skate circles around them.
That means getting aggressive. The Hawks have been letting the Blues be aggressive on offense. That needs to change. By extension, the forwards need to get more aggressive, particularly Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. That also means sitting Michal Handzus and another winger in favor of Peter Regin and Jeremy Morin (the fact that Brandon Pirri fired the #freemorin shots says a lot). Morin was playing phenomenally. Why he’s sitting is a mystery. Conservative lead-protecting doesn’t win games.
The Hawks will also have to pressure Ryan Miller, get pucks to the net, create traffic and force mistakes. These are things they’re perfectly capable of. They’ll also need to score on the power play, but they also can’t let the Blues get in their heads.
The Hawks are certainly capable of winning this series. It’s tough, but it’s doable. It means they cannot stoop to the Blues’ level. Smart, aggressive, skilled play is the key to winning this series. And there’s one more thing: this is not the first time the Blues have gone up 2-0 in a series. Last year, they went up 2-0 against the Los Angeles Kings. The Hawks faced the Kings in the Western Conference Finals.