May 2, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov (30) makes a save on a stuff attempt from Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) during the third period of game one of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center. Chicago won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
While it wasn’t the most pretty 5-2 victory ever, the Chicago Blackhawks hold the 1-0 series advantage, over the Minnesota Wild. This won’t be an easy series, by any stretch of the imagination, as many thought it would be. A win, today, would mean the Blackhawks have a 2-0 lead, in the series, as it heads to Minnesota. That would be a huge boost.
Here’s how the Blackhawks and Wild have fared, during the playoffs.
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Weirdly, the Wild have become Corsi darlings, during the playoffs, but that hasn’t made them an offensive juggernaut. The Hawks have remembered how to play on both special teams units, and have played very well, overall, 5-on-5. Goals Against is just going to be high, for the Wild, considering their goaltending situation. The Hawks must take advantage.
The Wild certainly appeared more polished, than they did in the 1st round, last year. Zach Parise is a player that does everything the right way, and is absolutely terrifying, when he has the puck. Jason Pominville, who was hurt during much of last year’s post-season, might be a sort of X-factor, for the Wild. Same goes for the recently acquired, Matt Moulson. If Minnesota is to even the series, they will need a better game out of Ryan Suter’s defensive partner, Jonas Brodin, who was in the penalty box, quite frequently, during Game .
In net, figures to be Ilya Bryzgalov, for the Wild. Bryzgalov was shaky, at the start of Game 1, but settled in a bit, at least until the 3rd period.
The Blackhawks need to be hungrier at up the effort, a tad, in Game 2. Yes, they won 5-2, but it was not the prettiest 5-2 victory. Luckily, the Hawks employ Patrick Kane, on their roster. Much like Marian Hossa(who has clearly ended his scoring drought) and Patrick Sharp, who struggled to score, in the 1st round, Brandon Saad is very due to find the back of the net. It’s scary to think what would happen to the Hawks without Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith. Both players can arguably be considered the most important player, on the Hawks. Game 1, or any game played, for that matter, could have been totally different, without them.
In net, for the Hawks will be Corey Crawford. Crawford, who has played extremely well, during the playoffs, may never prove the doubters wrong, but he has kept the Hawks going, during the last two playoffs.
A 2-0 series advantage is crucial, considering a 1-1 series, going into Minnesota is a little scary, especially against this much improved Wild team. Let’s do it!