Previews: Blackhawks, Red Wings seek the equalizers

Preview: Vancouver Canucks at Chicago Blackhawks (8 p.m. EST; TV: CBC, VS). Canucks lead the series, 2-1. 

Keys for the Canucks: Without question, Vancouver needs to be just as responsible in front of Roberto Luongo(notes) as it was in Game 3, playing again without Sami Salo(notes) on defense. Not only in playing tremendous defense in the neutral zone, but clearing out the garbage that the Blackhawks were previously cashing in near the crease. Just continue to keep Chicago looking disoriented until it's disinterested. Alex Burrows said it best: "I like the curveball, I like the changeup, I like it when the hitter is not able to hit the ball ... That is what we are going to try and do tonight."

Keys for the Blackhawks: The Hawks are preaching a smart and fast start to Game 4. Smart in the sense that they won't take the crippling first-period penalties they have in the first three games (three in Games 1 and 3, four in Game 2). Fast in the sense that they can't allow the Canucks to clamp down and clear traffic in front as they did in Game 3. Get the crowd into it, and keep them there. And hey, a goal from either Martin Havlat(notes) or Jonathan Toews(notes) sure would be swell.

Preview: Detroit Red Wings at Anaheim Ducks (10:30 p.m. EST; TV: VS., TSN). Ducks lead the series, 2-1.

Keys for the Red Wings: Jim Kelley of SI had an interesting breakdown of how the Ducks have been able to control the series thus far:

The Ducks have exposed some of Detroit's weaknesses that were evident but not exploited in their first round series with Columbus. Anaheim's very mobile defense has been able to get in and be an offensive threat in the Wings' zone. Injuries, especially to defenseman Brian Rafalski(notes), have made it difficult for the Wings to clear their own zone, a problem that plays into the hands of Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle, who likes to use an aggressive forecheck. The Wings also have had season-long confidence problems regarding goaltender Chris Osgood(notes). He's played well enough in the series, but hasn't been as good as Hiller at the other end of the rink.

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Hard to argue with much of it. The transition game, especially, is a place where the Wings need to improve pronto.

Keys for the Ducks: Brett Festerling(notes) probably in for James Wisniewski(notes). Other than that, just keep doing what they're doing. Although clearing the crease for Hiller might be advisable.

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