The Chicago Blackhawks need to get back to playing a brand of hockey that has made them one of the NHL's best teams over the past four seasons. To put it simply, the 'Hawks need to avoid falling into another shoving match with the St. Louis Blues.
Trying to impress their Western Conference first-round opponents with a physical display has resulted in a 2-0 series deficit. Heading into Monday night's game with the Blues in Chicago, it is readily apparent what course of action coach Joel Quenneville and his Blackhawks need to take.
That would be to forget about taking runs at St. Louis skaters and focus on making the Blues chase them around the rink.
St. Louis is likely to come out ready to muscle the 'Hawks out of the game Monday. There's a good reason for that. The strategy has worked. Goading Chicago into adopting a retaliatory stance is exactly what the Blues desire.
There is most assuredly going to be bad blood on the ice at the United Center throughout Game 3. Brent Seabrook's massive hit on David Backes Saturday afternoon gives St. Louis plenty of incentive to take some runs at Blackhawks skaters. However, that was going to happen anyway.
If you have success playing a particular style of hockey, you keep it up. The Blues are simply dancing with what brought them to the party. You may not like that style, but it certainly shouldn't surprise you.
Chicago needs to take a cue from St. Louis and come out in Game 3 ready to dictate the pace to the Blues. The 'Hawks are two games down, but playoff fortunes can turn very quickly based on who has home ice.
With the next two games in Chicago, it's time to play Chicago hockey. Win faceoffs, take control of the puck and force St. Louis into 60 minutes of puck pursuit.
Take the opportunity to finish checks when they present themselves in the flow of the game. Don't sacrifice pace and positioning for the sake of laying someone out.
Seabrook is on the shelf for the next three games after the league suspended him Sunday. Sheldon Brookbank, who responded to bigger minutes down the stretch in the regular season, is going to have to step up for Chicago.
I'd also like to see Quenneville make his team a little tougher to play against by dressing Jeremy Morin over Brandon Bollig Monday night. Bollig played all of three minutes and 33 seconds in Game 2.
Morin isn't a candidate to tie up with Ryan Reaves Monday night. That's not a negative to me. Morin is fully capable of finishing a check. He's also able to finish scoring plays, which could come in handy.
In what is obviously a pivotal evening for Chicago, the Blackhawks need their best effort in Game 3. That means rediscovering the style of play that has won two Stanley Cups.