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Round 2 - Blackhawks vs Wild


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  1. 1. Which team will win this Series?



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Consider this a general discussion thread for Round 2 of the Blackhawks vs Wild

 

Minnesota will be looking for revenge from last years first round elimination to the Hawks in 5 games.  They have fared reasonably well this season against Chicago winning 3 of 5 regular season games and an loss via shootout.

 

The Wild's strength will be their defensive consistency throughout the lineup however who can they count on in goal?   The defending champs on the other hand have no weaknesses as they are a talented group ready to defend their title.

 

Who will win the Central division title?

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Ok, here goes.... TFG's wall of text.......  :D

 

Man, HF, I hated to do it, but I voted Chicago.

 

I really do think this year's Wild team is much better than last year's, but word today was Darcy Kuemper has another concussion. Yep. Number 2...that we know of.

Of course, that means Ilya Bryzgalov.

 

Bryz may or may not be up to par...but well, I think we all know better than to hang our hats on Bryz.

 

On top of that, the schedule is against Minnesota, whereas Chicago is well rested, Minnesota just got done with an exhausting (physically and I am sure mentally) and draining series and have to turn right around, travel, and go play the Hawks tomorrow night.

 

Even a completely healthy and rested Wild team were going to have their hands full with this year's Blackhawks....but one that is tired and relying on Bryz to shut down the Hawks' scoring chances? Yikes...

I know Minnesota will give it everything they've got, but under the circumstances, I will say Hawks in 6...being generous enough to give Minny 2 wins that perhaps they win with pure heart.

With a healthy rested Wild lineup, maybe I go out on a limb and say Minnesota in 6 or 7....but NOT with Bryzgalov tending net.

And who backs up Bryz? 30 yr old journeyman John Curry? An under 25 yr old Iowa goaltender who would probably look like a deer in headlights facing down Teows and company? Or maybe Minnesota goes to some hockey shop and pulls out yet another long retired former goaltender to sit on the bench....

 

As you can see, I am NOT liking the goaltending situation the Wild find themsevles in...at all.

Maybe Ilya will surprise the hell out of me and everyone else (I hope he does...makes us ALL look like idiots in fact...I am cool with that), and plays out of his cosmonaut mind being a Vezina look-a-like all of a sudden, but let's just say I ain't bettin ma mortgage money on it....

 

All is not lost however.

Chicago, while obviously very good, can possibly be exploited.

First, let's start in goal.

Corey Crawford is very good. We all know that. We also know that he can be subject to runs where, for whatever reason, he lets in stoppable goals.

For 6 games, Crawford has looked at a St. Louis team that for the most part, lumbers, crashes, smashes their way towards him.  Minnesota will give him something entirely new to look at: Fast, youthful speed. Hungry guys lead by solid vets like Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, and Jason Pominville that are a far cry from the bruising players the Blues threw at him.

 

A Wild defense that can pinch in on a moment's notice to add on to the siege too.

I know the Hawks coaching staff will be prepared and they will prepare the team....but just sayin....Minny will look a lot different to Crawford and his defense than the Blues did.

 

Another area that can possibly be exploited would be the physicality. 

Sure, the Hawks dealt with that with the Blues, but the Wild have balance between speed and checking....and at times, like I've seen during the season and during the Colorado series, they CAN go all out physical and check the hell out of teams.

I am betting that Chicago, like most speed n skill teams, simply do NOT like to be hit consistently, and that something like that, maybe, can get them to try and retaliate, and get them to do something OUT of their gameplans.

Compared to the 'Lanche, the Hawks are a veteran group, not as easy to bait, but still, if Minnesota finds they can't quite skate with the Hawks, they may consider a more brute force approach.

 

And finally, Minnesota, at least in their own locker room, may have a mental edge in the sense that they KNOW they've beaten Chicago during the season. So to them, they can look at it as "They are the champs, they are good...but they can be beaten..and we've done it before..."

Obviously, those wins didn't come with Bryzgalov, Curry, or some over-the-hill 40 something former goalie between the pipes, but still, hey.....if Minnesota can keep most of the play on the Hawks side of the ice (like they did several times with the Avalanche), then Bryz or whomever else is in net may not have to see very many SOG...preferably less QUALITY shots on goal...

 

Tough mountain to climb for the Wild though...no matter how you slice it.

Will root for them for as long as they have fight in them....and I just hope that if this series is indeed the end of the line for Minnesota, that people in the state of hockey (particularly the FO) do NOT hit the panic button and start making crazy wholesale changes for next season.

Hopefully everyone can keep things in perspective and just continue to build.....the Wild franchise is primed to only get better based on current players, their minors system, and their ability now, to attract quality FA players.

 

Go Wild!!!!   ^_^  

Edited by TropicalFruitGirl26
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Consider this a general discussion thread for Round 2 of the Blackhawks vs Wild

 

I picked the hawks, but think the wild can give them a run for their money. 

 

Is there a better name in hockey than the Wilds Clayton Stoner?? 

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Very good game played the Wild...honestly, better than I expected...but the Hawks team skill was simply the difference for Game 1.

 

During the post game, Coach Mike Yeo related he thought the Wild needed to play better, and perhaps, on some occasions, Minnesota COULD have done better (perhaps put more pucks on net instead of clean misses and of course, staying OUT of the penalty box), but really, I thought Minnesota played as well as one could expect given the goaltending and rest issues the team was facing down heading into this 1st game.

 

I can't really make any excuses for the Wild. The Chicago Blackhawks played like the defending champions, they played like the team that took four straight from the Blues in Round 1, and simply put their skill on display, Patrick Kane in particular, that made the Wild D look like AHL callups.

 

Patrick Kane. 

That's what he does. 

Scores spectacular goals...and anyone on the Wild who thought leaving him all alone in the zone while he received a skillful deflection, well, they best re-think their gameplans.

I realize the Hawks 4th goal was a slam dunk by Kane, but really, SOMEBODY  had to be on him in the zone to begin with.

 

Overall though, the Wild weren't terrible, in fact, they carried the play for stretches at a time, Bryzgalov DID look focused, and Clayton Stoner...well, Stoner was a beast today...and not even talking about his mad scramble goal he was given credit for.

He was a hitting machine. He was that big nasty defensemen that every Cup contender needs. He has been that at various times during the season, but it bodes well for Minnesota if he becomes that PERMANTLY for the remainder of the playoffs. Stoner is a UFA at season's end and word in Minnesota that only one of he and Nate Prosser (the other on-the-bubble UFA D-man who plays a somewhat similar style) will be returning to the team. And Stoner is making the case in these playoffs that it should be him.

Ask the Hawks' Andrew Shaw about that.

 

I expect to see the same energy out of Minnesota for Game 2. There was nothing faulty about that.

But for the love of Lord Stanley, the Minnesota Wild really DO need to stay out of the penalty box.

If fans thought the Avalanche PP was lethal (which the Wild handled pretty well), the Hawks PP, with their skill level just as good BUT with more experience on it, IMO, is even MORE dangerous.

 

Corey Crawford contributed to the Wild's scoring issues by being spectacular on some plays. He looked ordinary on others, but bottom line was, he made saves when he needed to and his forward lines picked him up by scoring key goals when he did give up some.

 

Congrats to the Hawks on the series lead, but I am looking for Minnesota to have a better than good chance on tying this thing after Game 2 is all said and done.

I think the Wild look at footage of Game 1 and realize real quick: You DO NOT leave Patrick Kane without an escort in your own zone and you watch your penalties.

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Well I did call it.  But can they win another one?  Chicago will come out guns a blazing.  But I do believe the Wild have a shot if they frustrate Chicago's offense. Chicago has no patience.  They want to score fast and often and if you can stop that, you can catch them with numbers in transition.  And Varlamov was playing better than Crawford IMO

 

Agree on all points HJ,  if Minny can play tough at home like they can and grab another win.  This series could go 7.

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Well I did call it.  But can they win another one?  Chicago will come out guns a blazing.  But I do believe the Wild have a shot if they frustrate Chicago's offense. Chicago has no patience.  They want to score fast and often and if you can stop that, you can catch them with numbers in transition.  And Varlamov was playing better than Crawford IMO

 

Junkie, you have your Russian goalies confused. The Wild's goalie is Bryzgalov not Varlamov :huh:  

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We have ourselves a series again.  2-2.  Minny needs to win one in Chicago.  

 

"..Deja Vu All Over Again..."

 

Hmm...haven't we seen this situation before?

 

Minnesota down to a purported 'superior' team, loses the first two games on the road to said team, everyone says "well the Wild had a good season to make it this far, but couldn't expect them to win", then the team goes and wins the two home games, and it's a series again.....oh, and last time this happened, the Wild DID take the series in 7..  ;)

 

 

In all seriousness though, yes, this is a series again, buuuuut, the Blackhawks are NOT the Avalanche.

They may both be talented, high tempo teams, but the fact that the Blackhawks are the freakin defending champions and they have the solid playoff tested depth means that Minnesota really can't lose Game 5 in Chicago, then think they can run the table and win Games 6 and 7 just like that.

 

Is that possible? Absolutely....though I wouldn't want to put that theory to the test.

Again, they did it against Colorado, but Minnesota had been outplaying the Avs almost since the series start and probably should have had that series won much sooner than 7.

The Blackhawks? Wild HAVE played them well (obviously), however, there have been games where Blackhawks players do things that make your jaw drop and go, "ooooh, so THAT'S why they won it all last year".

 

That home win streak is great for Minnesota, but being the 7th overall seed in the West, they obviously have to win road games if they want to advance.

They won only 1 of those against Colorado (officially...we all know they should have won more of them  ;)  ), but it was the one they needed in the series finale.

 

Chicago will have the line matchups advantage come Sunday and you can bet their head coach and players will do a much better job of taking advantage of that than the NHL inexperienced coaching of Patrick Roy and his young players.

 

On the Minnesota side  of things, again, I really feel they need to win Game 5.

They win that, even if they lose Game 6, I think they got a legit shot at winning Game 7 as well (win two on the road, lose one at home...yea, I know, goes against everything that has happened so far for Minnesota).

But if they lose Game 5, I have a hard time envisioning them winning two straight from Chicago to end the series.

Say Minny loses Game 5, then uses home magic to win Game 6, Game 7 could see them falling short.

All sounds crazy, or some may even say, "TFG, what is the difference in the two scenarios you mentioned??"........ I think the differences are huge given how the teams have played and who mans the rosters.

 

Bottom line: Minny wins Game 5, they show they CAN beat the Hawks at United Center, then they only have to win 1 of 2 to finish things off, something very possible for them to do.

Minny LOSES Game 5, they HAVE to win the next two, one at home and one on the road, and to me, that is simply too much to ask this Wild team to do both mentally and physically at this point....advantage in that scenario clearly goes to the Hawks.

 

On last night's game, I like how the Wild played with intensity and they kept it up for the entire game.

Sure Chicago had their runs, but the Wild subscribed to the "bend but don't break" policy.

 

Yea, Bryzgalov didn't look particularly sharp for parts of the game (he seemed to have trouble tracking the puck for some reason), but he DID come up with some monster saves when called upon to do so later in the game.

Crawford wasn't particularly on-point with his puck tracking either, while the Minnesota forwards could be seen hemming in Hawks players in their own zone, and even having that very good group of D-men running around their own zone on occasion too.

 

Some have called the Blackhawks play lazy and/or uninspired, and that is fine, that may very well have been the case. But I like to think the Minnesota Wild had MUCH to do with the Blackhawks having their "off" game.

I said it in game chat, and will say it again.......if the Hawks want to be so-called "lazy", that is fine by the Wild and their fans. They can join the golf courses filled with the other "lazy" teams who are no longer playing in the post season and/or failed to make the playoffs. Suits Minny just fine. :)

People can call things however they want, but let's give the Wild credit for taking Game 4 and not just Chicago "letting them have" Game 4.

 

Yes, we DO have a series again, but for some reason, entering Game 5 in Chicago 2-2 still somehow feels like Minnesota is down a game. 

That is what a real-deal team like Chicago can make a fan of the opposition feel like.

I do expect a much better effort out of the Hawks after Game 4, at home, with a chance to put a stranglehold on the series.

 

Interestingly enough, I really don't feel the Wild need to change a whole lot to their approach.

Continue the intensity, play a full 60 minutes, Bryz continuing to play as well as he has (errr, hopefully he can see the puck better more often in Game 5), and of course, Minnesota forwards have to FINISH on the chances they are sure to create for themselves....oh,and nice to see that PP finally click... 1 for 5 last night, but really it looked pretty good almost all five times out.

 

Game 5 on Mother's Day for TFG?

Oh yea...sign me up!   :D

 

Go Wild! 

Edited by TropicalFruitGirl26
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I have to say I like how Rick can post the obvious then rave about how right he is. He pretty much just said "if you can stop them from scoring, you can beat them". Rick... I need your address. I want to send you flowers! Lol.

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I said that Varlamov was playing great as an example. I know he plays for Colorado.

@Junkie-You are discussing the Blackhawks vs. Wild series and you mention how well the Colorado Avs goalie is playing compared to the Blackhawks goalie? Makes perfect sense.........

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Unfortunately, Minnesota has opted for the WORST of the possible scenarios before Game 5 was said and done...and now they have to run the table, keeping the home win streak perfect and winning on the road in a deciding Game 7.

 

Exactly like the Colorado series.

Exactly, except that I've said before, the Hawks are NOT the Avalanche, the Hawks have been down this road (and a bunch of other roads Minnesota hasn't) before, and have the experience, leadership, and most certainly on-ice talent to finish off the Wild either tonight or back home in Chicago.

 

For the Wild, it will be the same ol story: generate chances, be quite physical (and smart about it) whenever possible, keep things on the Chicago end as much as possible, and they simply MUST capitalize on chances given.

Boy, they sure do generate plenty of them no matter WHO it seems they play, however, converting all those to actual goals is a whole other issue for this team...

And making the PP work consistently would be nice too. :) 

 

Really, other than actually converting goals and keeping their structured defense, there isn't a whole lot the Wild can do "better" against the Hawks.

I've talked a lot about line matchups for lots of these playoff series, but I believe that if there were a single team that seems to thrive the most from having the home ice matchups in these playoffs, it is the Minnesota Wild.

I am sure having the rabid home crowd backing them is great, but NHL teams in the playoffs are far too talented to let a little thing like screaming fans really get to them...generally speaking anyways.

So I think it really comes down to Mike Yeo getting the people HE wants on the ice against the opposition....while he and his staff seem to have a bit of trouble making the adjustments to do the same on the road when they DON'T have last change.

It really does seem to be a big deal for Minnesota.

 

Welll, it's Game 6, it's at home for the Wild, they have their fans, and they have their home matchups....now they need to execute.

 

The Blackhawks are clearly in the driver's seat with not only the series lead and only having to win one of two as opposed to two  must-wins for Minnesota, but they also denied the Wild of any emotional highs leftover from Game 5 due to the Hawks not only winning that, but scoring the last two goals en route to that win.

 

All Minnesota has left emotionally, is desperation.

 

Will be there tonight, live to watch the Wild hopefully extend this series back to Chicago.

Not sure if I should bring ear plugs or just soak in the crazy crowd noise...hearing loss be damned...but either way, looking forward to a very good matchup tonight.

 

Desperate Minnesota trying to fend off the defending Champs, and the salivating Blackhawks looking to finally  put away those pests in the green and gold, and moving on to defend their Western Conference title against the Pacific winner.

 

Being live at this game will come at the expense of being able to watch the NY-Pitt Game 7 as it goes on, and that is a shame, but for tonight, can't think of a better way to spend a sports evening than with 19,000+ crazy Minnesota Wild fans (oh I am sure some Hawkies fans will sneak in...hehehe), cheering on their team!

 

Go Wild! :lol:

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Will be there tonight, live to watch the Wild hopefully extend this series back to Chicago.

Not sure if I should bring ear plugs or just soak in the crazy crowd noise...hearing loss be damned...but either way, looking forward to a very good matchup tonight.

Desperate Minnesota trying to fend off the defending Champs, and the salivating Blackhawks looking to finally put away those pests in the green and gold, and moving on to defend their Western Conference title against the Pacific winner.

Being live at this game will come at the expense of being able to watch the NY-Pitt Game 7 as it goes on, and that is a shame, but for tonight, can't think of a better way to spend a sports evening than with 19,000+ crazy Minnesota Wild fans (oh I am sure some Hawkies fans will sneak in...hehehe), cheering on their team!

Go Wild! :lol:

Have fun, I really wanted to go this game but couldn't find tickets in time. (For the amount I could pay) Regardless of what happens tonight or next two games I'm more than happy with the Wilds performance this season. Juggling through five different goalies, racing for the wild card spot. They really showed up this year. And I picked a good year to actually start actually paying attention to them.

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Have fun, I really wanted to go this game but couldn't find tickets in time. (For the amount I could pay) Regardless of what happens tonight or next two games I'm more than happy with the Wilds performance this season. Juggling through five different goalies, racing for the wild card spot. They really showed up this year. And I picked a good year to actually start actually paying attention to them.

 

Thanks, @MinnyNorthernLights , oh, and welcome to HF's fine hockey forum!

 

I got lucky on this deal. I listen to cool 108 FM, they were doing this thing on the radio, I was the 18th caller, next thing I know, I am being told I won some VIP Suite tickets for two!  :D

Hoping some of my luck rubs off on Minnesota tonight as well.

 

Yea, the prices are pretty insane without sitting in the rafters...though, I HAVE sat up there, and aside from everything looking smaller (I DO have mediocre eyesight anyways), there really isn't a bad seat in the house.

I've been to quite a few Wild games since moving to the TC area (and some while I still lived in FLA, as I did visit in-laws during the winter before that), but NEVER have had the pleasure of being a VIP suite member....catered food, cushy chairs...hmm, do they do pedicures there too? lol

 

Either way, sounds like fun. 

I may have 'next morning' regrets, as it will make for a late night for my two young boys, next day being a work n school day (they are being babysat at their grammas), but hey, it's a price I will pay to see the green n gold.

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