5 Wild to Watch Out For

By Brian Kasnicka

The Chicago Blackhawks took game one of their second round series against the Minnesota Wild by a score of 4-3 on Friday night.  The Hawks jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but squandered it halfway through the second period thanks to three quick goals by the Wild.  With less than a minute left in the second period it was Teuvo time and the Hawks escaped with a 4-3 win.  This game just proved how resilient the Wild are and how the Hawks will have to play a strong sixty minute game to win.  The Blackhawks will also need to keep a watchful eye on these five guys.

Zach Parise, LW, 4G 5A

Zach Parise is the ultimate competitor.  He does whatever it takes to win, whether that’s scoring goals, blocking shots, or finishing his checks.  Parise is a big part of why the Wild easily handled the Blues in the opening round to set up yet another playoff match up with the Blackhawks. If the Hawks want to win this series they’ll have to shut down Parise.

Mikael Granlund, C, 2G 4A

Granlund has been an underrated player all season for the Wild.  He has the ability to make big plays and has incredible hands.  Granlund really found his stride during the olympics last season playing along side Finnish legend Teemu Selanne.  He’s been a big part of the Wild’s offense the entire year and doesn’t look like he’ll be stopping any time soon.

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Ryan Suter, D, 0G 1A

Suter hasn’t put up stats that will blow you away, but he’s not exactly known for his offensive game.  Ryan Suter is a shut down defenseman who will be out there on the ice for about half of the game.  He will most likely be matched up with Chicago’s top line of Saad, Toews, and Hossa like he was in game one.  If that top line is shut down by Suter then the Hawks will have to continue getting offense from the other three lines.

Jared Spurgeon, D, 1G 2A

Spurgeon is a bit of an undersized defenseman at 5’9, but he’s got an above average shot and can play defense with the best of them.  If the Hawks let Spurgeon jump into the rush and let his offense game take off, it’ll be bad news for them.  If the they can make him uncomfortable by finishing their checks and utilizing the stretch pass to keep the Wild defensemen from pinching then they should really put the pressure on Minnesota.

Jason Pominville, RW, 2G 3A

Jason Pominville, like Parise, is an excellent competitor and a great leader, which is why he was the captain in Buffalo for several years.  Pominville can be an elite scorer and he will get in shooting lanes and never quit on a play.  Pominville is just another weapon among a group of elite forwards.

The Minnesota Wild are a very talented team and the Blackhawks will need to be at their best every game to win this series.  If the Hawks can shut down these five guys, it’ll make winning this series much more manageable.  Game two is tonight at the United Center and the Hawks will look to take a 2-0 series lead before heading to Minnesota.  Hopefully the Hawks can jump on the Wild early and keep the foot on the gas for the entire game.  That’s all for now Hawks fans, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Thanks for reading and GO HAWKS!

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