Apr 3, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp (10) skates with the puck in front of Minnesota Wild left wing Erik Haula (56) during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
After waiting a few days the Blackhawks finally have their next opponent the Minnesota Wild, so Here are 5 quick thoughts about the Minnesota Wild matchup that kicks off Friday night at the United Center.
5. The Hawks have Home Ice Advantage- The one constant thought since the Hawks ended up as the #3 seed in the Central Division is the fact that even though they finished with 107 points they would have to be road warriors to advance in every round of the playoffs. Here we are only the 2nd round into the playoffs and because the Wild upset the Central Division Winning Colorado Avalanche the Hawks will open up Round #2 in front of the Madhouse on Madison Street instead of on the road in front of a hostile work environment.
4. Building A Rivalry– Rivalries just don’t happen overnight, they occur over years of struggling against each other especially in the postseason. The biggest reason Hawks fans hated the Canucks before Torts single handily destroyed them is because of the playoffs in 09, 10, 11. This will be the second straight year the Wild and Hawks face-off which will build this new rivalry a little bit bigger than it was before.
3. Parise/Suter Investment Finally Pays Off- Just for the fact that it put excitement into the fan base by signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter before the 2013 season was possibly enough for the Wild ownership to be happy with their acquisitions , but when you spend that amount of money and can’t get higher than a #7 seed in two seasons has to be a bit disappointing. If they had lost in overtime it could have looked like a bad investment, but the Wild have taken at least one step further in the playoffs than last year so it looks like for the time being that it was money (A Lot Of It) Well spent in Minnesota.
2. Patrick Sharp Type Of Series- Patrick Sharp is a streaky old soul, and although skating hard and making plays against the Blues, he was kept off the scoresheet except for his late goal in the third period of Game #6. The beauty of that goal is that Sharp finally saw a puck hit the back of the net which could be a great sign for the Wild series. Last year Sharp scored 5 goals and 1 assist in the 5 game series and will be looking to match or better those stats starting Friday night.
1. The Goalie Situation In Minnesota is Still a Question Mark. Last year the Wild lost their starting goalie in pregame warmups of Game #1 and Josh Harding stepped in a played fantastic. This season the Wild have played 5 goalies dressed 7 and possibly lost Darcy Kuemper after getting hurt in the third period last night which could lead to last man standing and trade deadline pick up Ilya Bryzgalov as the Wild’s starting goalie for the series. The Wild showed a ton of heart coming back against the Colorado Avalanche but their backstop could be the reason that the series ends the same way it did last year.
What is your Quick Thought about this upcoming series with the wild?
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LET’S GO HAWKS!!!