Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ Collin Delia the Key to Beating Minnesota Wild

By Samuel Boland
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 21: Goaltender Collin Delia #60 of the Chicago Blackhawks stands in goal against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on December 21, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 21: Goaltender Collin Delia #60 of the Chicago Blackhawks stands in goal against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on December 21, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Collin Delia was outstanding in his last start against the Colorado Avalanche. Tonight, he could be the key to beating the Minnesota Wild.

When the Chicago Blackhawks hit the road to challenge the Colorado Avalanche, who are fifth in the league in goals a game, Collin Delia was absolutely outstanding. He allowed just one goal stopping 35 of 36 shots faced, earning a .972 SV%.

Let me repeat that: Colorado, who scores 3.49 goals a game, could only muster a single tally against the Hawks and Delia.

To make that sound a little sweeter, the Chicago Blackhawks are second-to-last in the NHL in goals against a game (3.69).

Translation: that’s kind of a big deal.

Obviously, we have to acknowledge that it was one of the best Blackhawks defensive efforts thus far. Their forwards have a tendency to sometimes fall behind in plays or play lazy defensively, yet against Colorado it was a much different story.

Their defensemen played like real defensemen and helped to shut down the league’s leader in points, Mikko Rantanen. Rantanen averages over a point and a half per game, however the ‘Hawks’ kept him off the score sheet and only allowed him two shots.

Though we’re only looking at one outstanding performance, Delia hasn’t looked too bad in the AHL this season before getting his call up, either. Through 17 games with the Rockford IceHogs, Delia posted a 2.34 GAA and a .933 SV%. He was 7-5-4 over that stretch.

The task at hand

Delia will get the start tonight against the Minnesota Wild.

The Wild rank sixteenth in the NHL in goals for a game, so it’s about as average a challenge as it gets for Delia as far as the offense he’s facing goes.

The Chicago Blackhawks were horrendous the last time they played in front of their home crowd at the United Center so they have extra motivation to turn it around ahead of tonight’s game. Additionally, it’s their last game prior to the NHL Winter Classic, yet another reason to want to walk away with two points tonight.

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While these are both reasons that the Blackhawks should look better on the ice tonight than they did against the Florida Panthers, I’m betting Collin Delia’s play in net will be the deciding factor in tonight’s game.

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