Sunday, May 04, 2014
Do Wild Fans Need to Worry?
Once again, the Minnesota Wild find themselves down in a 2-0 hole, but the only difference is that it is to a much more experienced Chicago Blackhawks team.
First thing is first, one must address the horrible starts to game one and two for Minnesota. They would fall into 2-0 holes in both games, but would surge late to make things interesting before Chicago would ice the games with empty net goals. Their flat footed starts reminded me much of the series last year against the Blackhawks. It looked like a lot of puck envy and the Wild had no pressure on the puck carrier what so ever.
Another issue to address is the goalie situation. Ilya Bryzgalov has shown signs of the Bryz of 2007, but seems to be getting caught too deep into his net, look at Brandon Saad's first goal of the game. Yes I know it was deflected off the stick of Zach Parise, however, if Bryzgalov comes out another eight inches to a foot, I believe the puck hits him in the shoulder.
The goaltending situation is one that they have dealt with all season long, but it's time for Bryzgalov to take the reigns and find his game from the regular season. However, all can't be put on Bryz. When the Wild have had their prime scoring chances, is when they are strong on the forecheck. The only line I saw that consistently from today was the line with Nino, Haula, and Fontaine. These three took the body, created chances and got pucks to the net consistently. The rest of the team should take notes off of how these three played today because their games were nearly flawless.
Turnovers were also another story on today's game. Giving the puck up in key areas costed Minnesota at least two goals today. They would make a third period push today and in game one, but would turn out to be too little too late .
Finally, the big guns need to start being more active like they were at the end of the Colorado series. In today's game, Parise and Suter were both -3, Pommer, Granny, and Koivu were all a -2, and the only plus players were our grinders, Haula, Heatley, and McCormick all at +1. This picture is something that needs to be changed, or you can kiss this season goodbye.
As for if fans need to be concerned? I say yes. This Blackhawks team isn't like the Avalanche. They are much better and more experienced in the playoffs. 2-0 holes against them are generally impossible to overcome. However, it is the playoffs and the Blue Jackets almost upset the Penguins in the first round.
The only way I see Minnesota being back in this series is they must win both games at the Xcel Energy Center. If this doesn't happen, the season is over. The Madhouse on Madison is not an easy building to win in and have to grab at least one victory there to head to the West Final.