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.
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.
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?
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.
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%.
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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