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Blues determined to dictate pace against Blackhawks

Sunday, 04.27.2014 / 2:01 PM

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer / Blues-Blackhawks series blog

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Blues-Blackhawks series blog
Blues determined to dictate pace against Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock has a simple philosophy for how Game 6 against the Chicago Blackhawks can play out Sunday afternoon at United Center (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

"If they get to dictate, they're going to win," Hitchcock said. "If we get to dictate, we're going to win."

Hitchcock said the way the Blues can dictate is if they make the Blackhawks "stop and play." That means the Blues have to limit Chicago's chances off the rush, which Hitchcock said is the biggest factor for his team if it's going to force the Western Conference First Round series to return to St. Louis for Game 7 on Tuesday.

Since 2009, Chicago is 10-2 in games in which it can close out a series.

"When they're able to play on the move, and they're able to play on the move with transition, they are as dynamic as anybody in the League or better than anybody in the League," Hitchcock said. "When we make them stop and have to play, we are really good at our game."

Hitchcock would like to see the Blues play similar to how they played in Game 3 even though they lost 2-0.

St. Louis outshot Chicago 34-24 in Game 3, slowing the pace to the speed it wanted. The difference was Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford didn't allow many second-chance opportunities and Blues goalie Ryan Miller couldn't stop Jonathan Toews' wrist shot from the top of the left circle.

"They had to stop and play and it was very frustrating for them and we were coming at them in waves, but when they get loose on them they're dynamic," Hitchcock said.

"If you look at the series, even the last game is a microcosm of the series, the scoring chances at the end of the night are even. That's not good for us. As many as we're getting, we can't give up that many if we expect to beat them because it means they're getting scoring chances. At the end of the night through this series they have gotten too many scoring chances off the rush for us to win hockey games. We've gotta eliminate their scoring chances off the rush and drop their total down."

Hitchcock said "no comment" when he was asked if the Blues would have any lineup changes.

Here are the projected lineups:

BLUES

Alexander Steen - David Backes - T.J. Oshie

Jaden Schwartz - Vladimir Sobotka - Vladimir Tarasenko

Steve Ott - Patrik Berglund - Derek Roy

Chris Porter - Maxim Lapierre - Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk

Jordan Leopold - Roman Polak

Ryan Miller

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Adam Cracknell, Carlo Colaiacovo, Ian Cole, Magnus Paajarvi

Injured: Brenden Morrow

BLACKHAWKS

Bryan Bickell - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Patrick Sharp - Ben Smith - Patrick Kane

Brandon Saad - Marcus Kruger - Andrew Shaw

Brandon Bollig - Michal Handzus - Kris Versteeg

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook

Johnny Oduya - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Nick Leddy - Michal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Jeremy Morin, Joakim Nordstrom, Peter Regin, David Rundblad, Klas Dahlbeck

Injured: Nikolai Khabibulin (shoulder surgery)

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