The Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers square off in a battle of East versus West as two teams fight for their second win of the young season
The Chicago Blackhawks are looking to build on its first victory of the season Saturday against the Nashville Predators, but there is still plenty of work to be done in order to find their game.
A victory is a victory, but there’s still quite a few holes in the ‘Hawks’ game. However, getting that win will surely serve as a boost of morale throughout Chicago’s locker room.
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A win tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers will certainly not come easy, as captain Claude Giroux and the Flyers will look to fluster the ‘Hawks during their only visit to the Madhouse on Madison.
Here are three improvements Chicago must implement in order to keep on the winning path.
Shots on goal
The bread and butter of the success in Chicago, if you will. A category that the Blackhawks seemed to dominate on a nightly basis during the run of three Stanley Cup victories in six years. Where did the shot production go? Come back. Please?
Through the Chicago Blackhawks’ first three games of the season, shot totals have favored the opponent 96-70. We aren’t talking about total domination, but in all seriousness, it’s an area the ‘Hawks must work on. That is easier said than done, but the general rule is shoot more, score more.
Veterans must play better
Richard Panik leads the ’Hawks in points and goals. Come again? Panik? The 25-year-old acquired in a trade earlier this year?
‘Hawks fans, you’re reading this correctly. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith have yet to score. Would you like me to go on? Good. I didn’t think so. The core of this team must step up.
And it’s not just points that are an issue.
The majority of bad penalties are being taken by the Blackhawks’ seasoned players. With an absolutely terrible penalty kill, the lack of discipline is only making the ‘Hawks’ PK unit look even worse.
In order to succeed you must rely on experience and skill. The veterans must bring back the hunger that has driven this team for several years.
Defense must tighten up
Scott Darling, who was sensational in Chicago’s first victory, was absolutely pelted with shots, as the ‘Hawks surrendered 36 to Nashville. Chicago required Darling to play out of his mind, and without question, he bailed the team out in order to achieve that first win.
This was a problem last year as well, although the defense was significantly thinner than that of this year’s team. With all the praise being given to the Blackhawks’ blue line, defensemen must play better.
Not to say defense has been terrible, but the ’Hawks have to tighten up and disrupt opponents rather than allowing Corey Crawford or Darling to get bombarded with shots on goal. The Blackhawks can’t rely on goaltending to win every game.