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Get your game notes: Wild at Blackhawks

May 2, 2014, 10:54 AM EST

Jeremy Morin,Erik Haula AP

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Chicago Blackhawks hosting the Minnesota Wild starting at 9:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• The Wild defeated Colorado in seven games to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2003. Their Game 7 win at Colorado on Wednesday ended an eight-game road losing streak in playoff games, and raised their record in their last 14 road games to 2-12. The Blackhawks, who won all three games at United Center versus St. Louis in the first round, are 14-2 at home since the beginning of their Stanley Cup-winning run last postseason.

• Fourteen of the 46 first-round games went to overtime. Both the Wild and Blackhawks went to overtime four times in the opening round, the most among any of the remaining teams, and became the 11th and 12th teams in NHL history to go to OT four or more times in one series. Minnesota played 21:04 of extra hockey, going 2-2 in those games. Chicago played more than three times that much (65:09), also going 2-2.

• This will be the second-ever postseason meeting between the Wild and Blackhawks; Chicago beat Minnesota last year in the first round in five games, outscoring the Wild 17-7. Chicago’s lone loss in the series came in Game 3, a 3-2 OT loss at Minnesota. The Blackhawks outscored the Wild 12-4 at home in the series, scoring five goals in two of the games and holding Minnesota to no more than two goals in all three home games. Chicago has won 11 straight playoff series with home-ice advantage dating back to 1993, when they were swept by St. Louis in the Norris Division Semifinals.

• Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp (one goal) was held in check by the Blues in round one. However, he was the star of last season’s series versus Minnesota, scoring five goals in five games, on his way to a playoff-leading 10 goals. Since 2009, the Blackhawks are 23-4 in the playoffs when Sharp scores a goal.

• One Blackhawks career postseason record was broken, and another was matched versus St. Louis. In Game 4, winger Patrick Kane scored his third-career overtime goal, tying him with Jeremy Roenick for the most in franchise history. Center Jonathan Toews scored the game-winning goals for Chicago in Games 5 and 6. The second of those gave him nine for his career, one more than Roenick for the franchise high.

• In Game 7 versus Colorado, Wild winger Nino Niederreiter scored two goals, the second of which was the OT winner. Niederreiter became the third player in NHL history whose first two postseason goals came in a Game 7. (Pittsburgh’s Jiri Hrdina, 1991; New Jersey’s Adam Henrique, 2012). Elias Sports Bureau

• For Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who made one save in relief of the injured Darcy Kuemper and was credited with the victory in Game 7, the “Madhouse on Madison” has been a house of horrors. In seven starts since the 2007-08 season (all in the regular season), he is 0-5-2, with a 3.81 GAA and .873 save%. In his only start with Minnesota (Apr. 3), he allowed two goals on 26 shots in a shootout loss.

• Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (4-2, 1.98 GAA, .935 save%) was one of three goaltenders with a goals-against average under 2.00 and save% over .930 in the first round. (Boston’s Tuukka Rask and Philadelphia’s Steve Mason were the others.). In the past two postseasons, Crawford has the most starts (29), wins (20) and goals allowed (60) of any goalie, and the second-most shots faced (889) and saves (829). Only Rask has faced more shots (946) and made more saves (890) during that span.

• The Blackhawks had the best penalty kill among all teams in the first round (27/29, 93.1%) after finishing the regular season T-10th worst in the NHL (81.4%). The Wild also improved significantly in the opening round, with the fourth-best PK efficiency (22/25, 88.0%) after posting the league’s fourth-worst PK (78.8%) during the regular season.

  1. lbeezyse - May 2, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    Both teams offense and defense stack up to one another. If Keumper is out, the Hawks have the edge in net. Maybe Bryz finds that late season form? As a Wild fan I can only hope.

    And some facts to back up my claims:
    GPG: 3.33 CHI – 3.13 MIN
    GAA: 2.33 CHI – 2.86 MIN
    PP%: 15% CHI – 14.3% MIN
    PK%: 93% CHI – 88% MINN
    SPG: 33.3 MIN – 31 CHI
    SAG: 24.9 MIN – 35.8 CHI
    FO% 53.6% MIN – 53.3% CHI
    5on5 G/A: 1.45 CHI – 1.23 MIN

    The stats show that these two teams are a lot more evenly matched than most think. I find it fairly impressive the Wild are in the Hawks stratosphere considering their goalie situation.

    • joey4id - May 2, 2014 at 11:36 AM

      You’re right! These stats don’t lie. But! You can throw them out the window when it comes to playoff hockey. The teams don’t play the same game and there are so many non stat variables to consider when you’re in the playoffs. And it’s not just the number of playoff games played, but more so about how individuals and teams perform in the playoffs. Many of the details required to win in the playoffs can only be learned in the playoffs and when a team loses in the playoffs. Coaches go through a learning experience as well. So, for these reasons and the fact that the Hawks goalie situation is more stable I select the Hawks to win. The Wild, though their series went to 7, will see a whole different level of play that they have yet to see. Look for how detail oriented the Hawks will be and how that will be a huge differentiator.

      • lbeezyse - May 2, 2014 at 11:51 AM

        Those are playoff stats through the first round. I agree that the Hawks don’t play the same game as the Wild, but after the confidence boost from winning game 6 & 7, I think the Wild will come out with strong play. Whichever team gets the bounces and calls will win this series. Of course I pull for the Wild to win in 6, but in the back of my mind I realize we are playing the defending champs.

      • joey4id - May 2, 2014 at 12:02 PM

        Like you said, these are playoff stats from different series. Not really applicable. Very few picked the Wild to beat the Avs, and I think the series changed when the Avs lost Barrie. He was the key to the Avs transition game, and the offensive support from the back end. You never know…. Wild just earned an important organizational win. Enjoy!

      • lbeezyse - May 2, 2014 at 12:11 PM

        I’m not really in the argumentative mood today, but I don’t think Barrie would have made that much of a difference in the series. Cooke was playing great 2 way hockey before the unfortunate event happened and the Wild should have closed out game 1 in Colorado. I think the overtime momentum of game 1 gave the Avs a spark in their game 2 domination. The same way I think game 6 and game 7 victories will give the Wild a little extra boost and confidence. The Avs didn’t really dominate a entire period after game 2 until the 2nd period of game 6. The 4-3 series finish doesn’t show how much the Wild truly dominated the Avs that series. Varly and MacKinnon almost willed them to a series win. They are young and very talented & I am glad they are in our division. The Central is stacked with STL, CHI leading the way and young teams like DAL, COLO, MIN growing before our eyes. Easily the best division in all of hockey imo.

      • joey4id - May 2, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        I don’t want to argue either. I mentioned the impact of losing Barrie based on stats.

        Avs scored 9 goals in 2.3 games with Barrie. 4.5 GPG
        Avs scored only 11 goals in 4.6 games w/o Barrie 2.7 GPG

        Wild scored 6 goals with Barrie in the lineup 3 GAG
        Wild scored 15 goals with Barrie out 3.75 GAG

    • no - May 2, 2014 at 12:50 PM

      well it needs to be said that those are 6 and 7 game sample sizes, all against one opponent. those stats aren’t really significant.

      I will definitely agree that it should be a great, competitive series now that both teams have found their form, but I wouldn’t base it on first round stats.

  2. credible316 - May 2, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    Going to be a tough one in the madhouse. Just need to steel one on the road!

    8:30 can’t come soon enough! GO WILD!!

    • lbeezyse - May 2, 2014 at 11:25 AM

      I agree. That is one of the only arena’s outside of the X I truly want to take in a road game. Their fans go as hard as ours do at the X.

      • guitarhunterdude - May 2, 2014 at 12:27 PM

        “Their fans go as hard as ours do at the X.”

        You must just be talking about the postseason. The X is a library during the regular season, except when the fans boo the Wild after a bad PP.

  3. earpaniac - May 2, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    Can’t wait.

  4. purpleguy - May 2, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    If the Wild only had a stable goaltending situation. Again, I think the only Avs defender that could even make the Hawks is Johnson. The difference in the Hawks defensive end will be like night and day compared to the last series.

    • guitarhunterdude - May 2, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      This. With how bad the Avs defensemen were at clearing pucks and breaking out, we were able to forecheck the hell out of them. We won’t be able to do the same against the Hawks guys, so I think we’re going to see a fair amount of 1-3-1 in this series.

      • lbeezyse - May 2, 2014 at 12:17 PM

        Agreed. The Wild need to make what few mistakes the Hawks make hurt. Put the puck high on Craw and keep up the physical play. The Hawks are a totally different animal than the Aves. They don’t quite have the team speed, but they are very fast none the less. They play an extremely better brand of defense and are more physical than Colo. They’re also deeper, more offensively skilled, and have a great coach. The only + is we aren’t facing a contortionist goalie pulling saves out of his rear. Craw can look very human when the Hawks d breaks down. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen all that often.

  5. canucks30 - May 2, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    I got the Blackhawks in 3.5

    • tved12 - May 2, 2014 at 12:58 PM

      Well it takes 4 to win a series so I’ll take that as a Wild fan. You must think Hawks just can’t close ‘em out right?

  6. zraskovich - May 2, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    3.5 that must be Canadian math :). Looking forward to tuning in tonight!

    • strictlythedanks - May 2, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      damn metric system…..

  7. luvmnsports2012 - May 2, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    GO WILD!!!

  8. TBaySlim - May 2, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    i think a real key to the series is the wild defense, with the goalie situation as it is, i think its going to be up to the wild to keep shooters on the outside an off the top of the circles. clear the trash in front of brzy. If he can make the all he routine save and steal one or two others the wild have a chance to keep it close an pull one out

  9. slysipops - May 2, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    GO HAWKS GO !!

  10. pariserules - May 2, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    In my opinion there are 3 keys to this series. Can the Wild match the intensity of the Hawks for 60 minutes. Can the Wild goal tending hold up to the odd man rushes that they will be facing. Can the Wild’s top lines consistently create mismatches and wreak havoc in front of Crawford. The Wild’s defense is very solid but they are well supported by the back checking of the forwards. The Wild’s top scorers need to match the Hawk’s talented front lines and that will make for an interesting series. If the Wild’s goal tending breaks down it will be a short series. Power plays and penalty killing will not be a huge factor as both teams have talented special teams and neither team takes many penalties..

    GO WILD!!

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