The Chicago Blackhawks are down two games to one in their opening-round series against the St. Louis Blues. If there is any team in this league that can came back from a big deficit, it’s the Blackhawks. It’s not easy, however, given that the Blues are a pretty good team. But in order for the Hawks to win the series, there’s going to need to be a few changes. That starts with the way the Hawks have been playing with leads.
Each time the Hawks have a lead in this series, they’ve been getting far too protective and conservative. It’s cost them in the first two games and almost cost them in Game 3. It got particularly frustrating watching them play it safe while the Blues pressured their end of the ice for several minutes.
The only relief came whenever the Hawks got a weak attack going that would be stopped before they even got to the face-off circle. This has been a habit the entire series. Imagine what could have happened if they got aggressive late in their games (and if they didn’t play dirty in Game 2).
It seems as if the Hawks are falling into the usual trap of playing not to lose. Defense is most certainly important. How do you think they shut out the Blues in Game 3? But if you’re playing too much defense, you run the risk of getting tired and the opponent pressuring you too much can cause the defense to break. That’s why the likes of Jeremy Morin would be a good addition. While not the savior for the team, he can inject some much-needed energy into the lineup.
Of course, without Brent Seabrook, this makes the defense’s job much more difficult. The Blues may be big and physical, but they’ve got some offensive potential. That makes them like the Boston Bruins in a sense. Constantly defending against a team like that isn’t going to stop them. For that reason, among others, the Hawks need to turn on their high-powered offense and take the offensive against the Blues’ defense and Ryan Miller.