Chicago Blackhawks: 4 Ways To Close This Series

By Colin Likas
3 of 4

Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

At the same time, once the Preds get the puck toward the net, the ’Hawks need to be sure to collapse back toward Darling to clean up rebounds and second chances. During the third period of Game 5, the ’Hawks pretty much forgot about this step, or at least didn’t commit to it well enough. This is also a large part of the reason Crawford had such a tough time in his only two appearances to date this postseason. The ’Hawks simply have to support Darling from a defensive standpoint in Game 6.

Move the puck, pressure the Preds defense. Someone might have said prior to Game 4 to knock off the stretch and drop passes, especially considering the ice at the UC would likely be shoddy in quality. Well, let’s go back on that for Game 6. Though things stayed even on the scoreboard through two periods Thursday, the ’Hawks were pretty well stifled for the final 38 minutes, and they did little to adjust (Patrick Kane being a freak of nature only counts for show in a loss). The Preds’ defensemen have shown they can stop the ’Hawks if the latter only…

1) Wait at the blue line for someone to carry it in or

2) Dump it in deep

So stretch those defensemen out. Throw in some deception with the drop pass (use it wisely, ’Hawks). Continue to offer the above two options, but not as the only options. Mix up the looks the Preds see so they are unable to snuff out a Chicago offensive attack so easily. This isn’t about being overly fancy — if a shooting lane is there, it should be taken — but more about creating additional opportunities and preventing the Preds from utilizing the blocked shot as often as they have this series.

If the ’Hawks focus on these ideas and come out matching the Preds’ level of desperation, they are far more likely to take Game 6 than if they come out thinking this is just another shot, with one more possibility to knock off Nashville waiting in the wings.

There’s one other thing the ’Hawks could consider tonight. There’s very little chance it happens, but we’ve argued in the past (and present) that Rozsival needs to be benched, so…