May 3, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks centerPatrick Sharp
(10) celebrates scoring a goal against the Minnesota Wild during the third period in game two of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at the United Center. The Blackhawks beat the Wild 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
Round One Game #3- Chicago Blackhawks vs Minnesota Wild (Chicago leads series 2-0)
Game Time– 2pm
Preview- The Wild made the playoffs on the very last day, but if they plan on sticking around very long in the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs they will need to make a stand today on home ice. Niklas Backstrom practiced on Saturday but it isn’t clear if he would play or if Josh Harding would get another start in the Wild net. After an almost flawless Game 1 against the Blackhawks, Harding gave up 4 goals on 43 shots, yet he still kept the Wild in the game until midway through the third period. The Wild are between a rock and a hard place in this series because they cannot win unless they play a very tight disciplined defensive hockey game, while doing that it is nearly impossible for them to generate any type of offense. Zach Parise has been held in check in the first two games so look for him to try to force the action in his first every home playoff game in front of his hometown crowd.
The Blackhawks after a sluggish, lucky to have left the building with a win in Game 1, were back to their regular season form as they dominated every aspect of Game 2 while beating down the Wild 5-2. It was really nice to see Patrick Sharp score twice after the injury, frustrating season that he had in 2013. Another sign that the Hawks are in regular season form was that fourth liner Michael Frolik also scored twice. Patrick Kane seemed to become energized and could be an even bigger than normal force for the opposition to deal with if he plays like he did Friday night for the rest of the playoffs.
Prediction– The Wild will be in full desperation mode and it will be up to the Hawks to match the intensity. I think they do and win a close game 3-2 with the Captain finally getting on the scoresheet with the game winner.
What is your prediction for today’s game?
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