Saturday, May 10, 2014

Wild Dominates Blackhawks

The Minnesota Wild absolutely dominated the Chicago Blackhawks last night to pull to an even 2-2 in the best of seven playoff series.  On all sides of the equation - defense, offense, power play, penalty kill, and goaltending - the Wild outplayed Chicago.

For the game, Chicago was held to 20 shots on goal.  20!

Minnesota was definitely helped by the return of Matt Cooke, who dominated on both ends of the ice after sitting out a 7 game suspension for his hit on Colorado's Tyson Berrie.  Cooke showed exactly why he was picked up by the Wild in the first place.  With fresh legs and an aggressive attitude, he was everywhere on the ice, and the Blackhawks had no way to contain him.

After losing the first two games in Chicago, likely due to an exhausting 7 game series with Colorado, the Wild have now evened things up with back to back home wins.  In order to take the series, the Wild will need to stay perfect at home, and will need to win one in Chicago.  But that doesn't seem like a stretch.  Hockey is all about confidence (the next time you hear a player or coach interviewed, just see how many times they use that word), and the Wild have it all, and the Blackhawks have none.  The pressure will be on Chicago to produce in front of their home crowd, and if things start of bad and the Wild continue their dominant play, that choking feeling will likely set in.

In the series, the Wild look like they are clearly the better team.  Now they just need to prove it by taking a game in Chicago.

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