Friday, May 02, 2014
Prediction for Wild vs. Blackhawks
How the Wild win…
The Minnesota Wild will beat the Chicago Blackhawks if they continue to play their systems like they did against the Colorado Avalanche. This past season, the Wild had a 3-2 record against the Blackhawks. One of the Wild’s two losses was a shootout loss. So, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that the Wild could win this series. Just like the series against the Av’s, the Wild are going to be the under dogs. They need to embrace this, and use it in their favor.
The key to beating the Blackhawks, play disciplined, smart hockey. They cannot take foolish, selfish, retaliation penalties. The Wild will need to stay out the penalty box if they want to win this series.
Defensively: the Wild need to protect their goaltender. Make that area nose bleed alley, smartly. It’s imperative that the Wild keep the Blackhawks on the perimeter. They do not want to allow them to get to the blue paint, or roam freely in the slot, unchallenged. The Blackhawks will cash in on those opportunities.
The Blackhawks are a fast skating team that comes at you in waves, and the Wild defensemen need to keep the Blackhawks forwards in front of them. Up front, former North Dakota forward Jonathan Toews (3g-4a—7pts) and former Michigan State Spartan Duncan Keith (2g-5a—7pts) lead the Blackhawk in points. No slouch himself, Patrick Kane is in third place with (3g-3a—6pts). Leading the Wild in points against the Blackhawks this season: Jason Pominville (4g-1a—5pts), Mikael Granlund (0g-4a—4pts), Matt Cooke (2g-1a—3pts). Note, Cooke is unavailable for the first three games because of his suspension. He returns from his seven-game suspension in time for game four.
Wild lose if…
The Wild will lose if they fail to play disciplined hockey. They cannot get caught up in the extra bravo sierra. They can’t lose their wits about them. They need to play under control and not respond to the Andrew Shaw’s antics. Also, the Wild will lose if they start running around, trying to check the Blackhawks out of the building. The Blues tried to do this in the first round and it didn’t work. That’s not the Wild’s game, they’re more successful when they play a high pressure, fore-check game.
I am going out on a limb, Wild win series in 6 games.