Brent Seabrook fired a puck from center ice down to the end boards behind Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. Peter Regin was rushing to pick it up, but his stick got tangled up with a Wild defenseman. Patrick Kane was not far behind. He scooped up the puck, took it from the forehand to the backhand well behind Bryzgalov, sent the puck into the top of the goal, and sent the Blackhawks to their fourth Western Conference Final in six seasons.
It was not an easy task though. The Wild were tough. It took 6 games for the Hawks to win this series when most expected it would only take four. To me, there are many reasons that the Blackhawks beat the Wild in the second round, but I’ll only share my most prominent three.
The Blackhawks Have Been There
The Chicago Blackhawks know what it is like to win. They also know what it is like to lose. That’s what makes this team special. They lost in the conference finals to the Detroit Red Wings in 2009. They came back the next year to win the Stanley Cup. Two straight 1st round playoff exits from Vancouver and Phoenix in 2011 and 2012 made them hungry enough to win another Cup in 2013. I think that hunger is still there. They want to be known as a dynasty. This team is incredible in many ways, but the main thing is that they have experience. I believe that experience put them over the top in Minnesota.
The Blackhawks Can Win In Tight Situations
I was discussing the Blackhawks Game 6 win with my friend at work. He brought up the fact that the Hawks seem to have won a lot of these games in overtime. Although the only things that he knows about hockey is what I’ve told him, and that they fight, he believes that the overtime victories discredit the Hawks playoff accomplishment. I believe that it only boosts their accreditation. Having a killer instinct like that is hard to find in a hockey team. Minnesota did not have it, the Blackhawks did. That is why the Hawks moved on.
Minnesota Is a Young Team
Most of the players who shined for Minnesota in these playoffs are young. Like barely old enough to drink, young. In a few years, this team will be scary, but I believe that the young stars for Minnesota will have to face a few more series’ like this one before they really become great. The Blackhawks do have some young players, but those young players are still very experienced. Almost every player on this squad has their name on a Stanley Cup.
Those are three reasons why I believe that the Blackhawks are in the Western Conference Finals.