Start At The Back
The short-circuit in the Chicago offence isn't at the front end.
So while folks can endlessly speculate as to why Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane aren't skating together, or suggest Joel Quenneville is getting outcoached (laughable) by Claude Julien, those who do so are really looking at the wrong part of the problem.
Sure Toews and Kane need to score, power play or otherwise.
But more than anything, Duncan Keith is going to need to find his "A" game if the Chicago Blackhawks are going to win the Stanley Cup.
The problem is at the backend right now for the Hawks.
Remember Boston's first round series with the Maple Leafs? One element that significantly altered that series and made it a dogfight was the insertion of mobile blueliner Jake Gardiner into the Toronto lineup after he started the series as a healthy scratch.
Gardiner, seemingly gaining confidence with every shift, gave the Leafs a weapon the Bruins struggled to control with his skating, puck movement and ability to join the rush.
Those are things we've yet to see from Keith in this Cup final, at least not to the extend of which he's capable.
Maybe playing almost 49 minutes in Game 1 tuckered him out. But he has yet to register a point - not surprising with the Hawks having basically scored two goals in three games - and hasn't yet be able to capitalize on open ice when it has opened up for him.
For the most part, Keith has been like a quarterback who can't find his receivers. That has left the likes of Toews and Kane either unable to get the puck with a good head of steam, or trying to make individual forays through the teeth of the Bruins defence.
Nick Leddy is the only other Chicago blueline who can in any way, shape or form mimick Keith's skating ability, but he doesn't have the same vision and is minus-7 in the post-season.
Otherwise, its up to Keith to open up the ice, not an easy task against the structured Bruins, and the absence of Marian Hossa as an option off the rush in Game 3 didn't make it any simpler.
If Keith can find his game and open up ice in Game 4 tonight, you'll see the Chicago offence start to click again.