Stanley Cup Playoffs

Blackhawks: 3 Keys to Game 2 Against the Golden Knights

Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /
4 of 4
Chicago Blackhawks
Corey Crawford #50, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /

Tighten Up Defensively

The Blackhawks have improved a lot defensively, but it seems like every time they make a mistake, it ends up being costly. Corey Crawford played well in Game 3 and 4 against Edmonton, the defense followed in his footsteps. Of the 4 goals given up in Game 1 against Vegas, 3 of them were defensive break downs.

The defense is improving and I’m not overly concerned. It still needs to be addressed though. There’s a good chance this series will be low scoring. These games could be 4-3 or 3-2 finishes, that’s how the playoffs work. If these games are low scoring, not only is Crawford going to need to play well, all six defensemen, along with the forwards need to step up.

Watching the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets play defense was amazing in their Game 1 that went to five overtimes. Those guys got in front of everything, they protected their goalies at all cost, and they killed penalties. If Chicago can do half of that, they’ll win this series.

Blocking shots, protecting Crawford, getting psychical, and staying in position is what this defense needs to do. Every time there’s a player in front of Crawford trying to screen him, that player needs to go away. The puck needs to be cleared out of the zone and not left for easy rebounds. The little things matter in the playoffs.

"Blackhawks’ fans don’t need to panic after Game 1 loss, just yet"

If you look at it, the defense is improving game-by-game. There’s still some work to go, but I think the Blackhawks will be fine. I don’t want to say Game 2 is must-win, but there has to be some urgency. If Chicago can steal Game 2, this series is WIDE OPEN.