Apr 3, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin (25) battles for the puck with Chicago Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger (16) during the overtime period at the United Center. The Blackhawks won 3-2 in a shoot out. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Blackhawks vs Minnesota Wild Series Preview


 

It will be a rematch of last season’s first round series when the defending Champion Chicago Blackhawks tangle with the upstart Minnesota Wild in the second round.  The Blackhawks eliminated the Wild in 5 games last spring.

 

SEASON SERIES

The Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild met 5 times in the regular season.  The Wild won 3 times while the Hawks win twice, including one shootout win.

 

THE MATCHUPS

Goaltending

Corey Crawford has played every minute of the playoffs for the Chicago Blackhawks, and only Tuukka Rask has put up better numbers than Crawford’s 1.98 GAA and .936 SP.

There are questions in the Wild net, as Darcy Kuemper took over for Ilya Bryzgalov in game 3 of the first round series and got them back in the series after dropping games 1 and 2.  However, Kuemper left game 7 with about 8 minutes left in regulation with an injury, to be replaced by Bryzgalov.  Who will start the series in net?

Defense

Two of the best blueliners in the game anchor each team’s respective blue lines.  Duncan Keith is a Norris Trophy finalist for the Chicago Blackhawks, while Ryan Suter plays more than any other player in the league in leading the Wild defense corps.

The key might be how the secondary defensemen, namely Brent Seabrook and Jonas Brodin, handle the speed of the opposing forwards and supplement the stars’ play.

Offense

Jonathan Toews had the game winner in 3 of the Blackhawks’ 4 wins in round 1, while Patrick Kane also contributed 3 goals and was a +6 in the first round.

Zach Parise is playing his best hockey as a member of the Wild, putting up 10 points in the first round win over the Avalanche.  Rookie Charlie Coyle also lit the lamp 3 times in the series.

Special Teams

These teams were remarkably similar in the special teams, with not much to choose between the power plays, that were ranked 9th (CHI) and 10th (MIN) in the first round.

On the penalty kill, the Hawks had a slightly better percentage, 93.1% as opposed to the Wild’s 88.0%.

 

PREDICTION

This is the series that the Wild spent almost $200M to bring in Parise and Suter a couple of summers ago.  They will be counted upon heavily to put up offensive numbers.  Questions in goal for the Wild and the Chicago Blackhawks’ vast edge in experience leads the result in the direction of the Hawks

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS  in 5

 

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Who will win between the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild?

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Tags: Hawks Jonathan Toews NHL Playoffs Popular Preview Zach Parise