The Blackhawks were down 0-2 and somehow became the first Western Conference team to advance to the Western Conference Semi-Finals. The Blackhawks as we all know are still waiting for their next opponent with is to be determined tonight when the Minnesota Wild visit the Colorado Avalanche in a winner take all Game #7. Either team will be a tough test in the next round but here are 5 reasons Hawks fans should be rooting for the Wild to upset the Avalanche on home ice tonight.
5. Last year’s playoffs series- The Hawks have been there done that with the Wild. The Hawks dispatched the Wild in five games last season, and though both teams have made subtle changes they are very similar rosters so there’s no reason to believe the Stanley Cup Champs would lose to the Wild in a 7 game series.
4. Darcy Kuemper Vs Semyon Varlamov- No matter what the numbers say for Kuemper in the first round, he doesn’t scare an offensive team like the Blackhawks even though his stats say 3-1 1.53 Goals Against Average and .934 Save Percentage. The Fact is Varlamov owned the Blackhawks during the regular season and is one of the few goalies in the league that could possibly have put question marks in the Blackhawks head. Kuemper won’t be able to keep these numbers up in the long run, but Varlamov has already proved he can beat and shut down the Blackhawks offense.
3. Team Speed of the AVs- The way to beat the Blackhawks isn’t to play physical hockey, witness the St. Louis Blues or the LA Kings. Although physical games are exciting for the fans and it the hits margin looks impressive on the NBCSN stat line during intermissions, all it does is get you a one way ticket to the offseason. The way to beat the Hawks is team speed and possession and while the AV’s aren’t a strong possession team they are one of the few teams in the league that can skate with the Hawks. The Wild though not slugs are nowhere near the skating team that the Av’s and their youth are night in and night out.