Behind Enemy Lines: Minnesota Wild
May 13, 2014; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin (25) and Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell (29) battle for position at the top of the crease in the third period of game six of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Xcel Energy Center. The Blackhawks clinch the second round with a 2-1 victory over the Wild in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Blackhawks are beginning to build a little bit of a rivalry with the Minnesota Wild mostly due to the past two post seasons. Both times, the Blackhawks ended the Wild’s hope of making a deep playoff run to the Stanley Cup. This last Chicago-Minnesota playoff series was much more challenging for the then defending Champions, and the Wild displayed their progress and promise to the Blackhawks and the rest of the Central Division.
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The Wild haven’t made any drastic changes to their roster during the offseason other than the addition of left wing Thomas Vanek from the Montreal Canadiens. He joins a team entering its third season with Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, which make things even more challenging for the Blackhawks who went 2-3-0 against the Wild last season and lost a 2-0 series advantage in the second round of the playoffs.
The Wild have suffered from instability in goaltending for a couple of seasons and have added newly signed goalie John Curry to the mix. Curry will most likely take a backseat to other goaltending options like Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom who have struggled to remain healthy all season. Young goaltender Darcy Kuemper displayed some promise during his rookie season when he was brought in to relieve the injured veterans and replace a struggling Ilya Bryzgalov in the first round playoff series against the Colorado Avalanche.
Even with their goaltending struggles, the Wild are a growing threat in the Central Division and the League. The Blackhawks already struggled to best the Wild, but this season, they will have to raise their game to another level.
How do you think the Blackhawks-Wild series will pan out this season?
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