It currently seems like déjà vu for the Chicago Blackhawks entering Game 5 tonight down 3-1 in the series vs the LA Kings. The only thing different from last year’s second round 3-1 deficit to the Detroit Red Wings is that the LA Kings are a lot better of a team than they were. So it is going to take more effort and better play to make the same comeback they did a year ago. Regardless, the Chicago Blackhawks are facing an elimination game and have to defend their home ice to take this back to Los Angeles and force a Game 6. It is what you would call do or die for the Chicago Blackhawks and their play must change if they want to stay alive. I will be taking a look at what the Blackhawks will most importantly need to do in order to survive this game and the rest of the series going forward.
The first thing that sticks out like a sore thumb to me and probably every other Blackhawks fan is the awful special teams play during this series. It isn’t just one faucet of the special teams either; everything is looking dismal both on the man advantage and the penalty kill. The opportunities have been there on the man advantage and they just have not capitalized on them. The Chicago Blackhawks are currently 2 for 13 during the series on the man advantage; with the 2 goals coming way back in games 1 and 2. During their last 9 opportunities, the Blackhawks have come up empty-handed and will have to change this tonight. If they cannot execute on the man advantage they will not be able to gain the momentum that they need badly to win. I feel that it all begins in the faceoff dot and if the Blackhawks can improve they will be able to control the puck more in their zone. It is almost like a chain reaction because once the faceoff and puck possession battle is won you are able to get the puck into the zone and get off more shots on goal which increases your chances of scoring.