Apr 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw (65) and St. Louis Blues center Patrik Berglund (21) try to gain control of the puck during the second period in game three of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
For all of you fans concerned about the loss of Brent Seabrook for a 3 game suspension, you can now rest better after Sheldon Brookbank kept up with Duncan Keith on the top line. Now that the Chicago Blackhawks have solidified their first victory of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s time for them to continue moving forward and focus on Game 4 which takes place this Wednesday April 23. I would like to take some time discussing the main areas where the Blackhawks really need to make a change if they want to see success deep in these playoffs. Don’t get me wrong, this Blackhawks vs. Blues series could definitely be 3-0 in favor of the Blackhawks or even a 2-1 lead in the series with how close the games have been. However, it’s the continual lack of these fundamentals that puts a damper on how dominating the Chicago Blackhawks really could be.
Over the course of the first three games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs the Blackhawks have managed to commit a total of 55 minutes of penalty time. With about 75% of those penalties coming in Game 2, where the Blackhawks couldn’t beat out the remaining 6 seconds on a penalty kill and got scored on and then lost in overtime. Brent Seabrook committed a knucklehead penalty accumulating for 15 of those minutes with his hit on David Backes. I did see a better disciplined team during Monday night’s Game 3 win. Their discipline created more power play opportunities and kept them off the penalty kill on the opposite end of the ice. They still had areas for improvement though. Two people who happen to being seeing a lot of penalty time lately is Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell. Yes, these two guys are scrappy and physical but their penalties have been lazy interference, holding, and hooking calls. Let’s hope they got all their mistakes out of them now because the Blackhawks can’t afford them moving forward.