May 4, 2014, 5:52 PM EDT
Much like Game 1, the contest was quite a bit closer than the final score might indicate,* but the bottom line is that the Chicago Blackhawks now have a 2-0 series lead against the Minnesota Wild after winning Game 2 by a 4-1 mark on Sunday.
Closer than it appears?
It’s easy to see that the Blackhawks are hot right now. Stretching back to their first-round battle against the St. Louis Blues, they’ve now won six consecutive playoff games.
It’s also a special win for head coach Joel Quenneville, for those counting:
The good news for the Wild is that they’ve been here before. The Colorado Avalanche took a 2-0 series lead against them in round one only to see Minnesota advance after seven games (which included an overtime battle in that decisive game). While the first two games against Colorado were often out of control for Minnesota, these first two losses were tighter until the Blackhawks pulled away in the third period of each game.
The shot totals probably tell the story best: Minnesota limited Chicago to 22 shots on goal in both games.
Not easy for Breezy
For all the good that comes out of those observations, the bottom line is that the Wild have been outscored by a combined score of 9-3 through these first two games.
Fair or not, one must wonder if Minnesota can put much trust in Ilya Bryzgalov. The Russian-born goalie has lost four of five games in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs and his lone win came in just 13:15 of game time (from Game 7 after Darcy Kuemper left with an injury). His individual numbers haven’t been very strong, either, so it’s not just a matter of the team in front of him.
It’s probably true that Bryzgalov isn’t the only problem for Minnesota, yet they might just need him to carry them at times. (The goals often haven’t been Breezy’s fault, but his prospects as an unrestricted free agent seem to dip with each start.)
Bickell heats up
Toews scored the first goal for Chicago, Bickell collected two assists and added a goal in the third period (after clanging the iron on his previous shift) and Hossa had three helpers in Game 2. It’s little surprise that Toews and Hossa are looking strong, but Bickell seems to be on track for a playoff breakthrough for the second straight year. After only managing 15 points in 59 games in the regular season, Bickell has eight playoff points (all in a four-game streak).
If this trio can keep it going, it will be highly difficult for any team to slow Chicago down.
* – In the case of Game 1, it was 5-2.
Aug 19, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT
It’s been a good summer in Dallas.
Aug 19, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT
Yeah, we don’t get it either.
Aug 19, 2014, 8:45 PM EDT
He’s not going out of his way for it, however.
Aug 19, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT
You earn a lot of votes winning a Stanley Cup.
Aug 19, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT
He had a down season and worse playoffs last year.
Aug 19, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT
Will the Rangers reap the benefits?
Aug 19, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT
Can the former 15th overall pick establish himself as a full-time NHLer?
Aug 19, 2014, 4:44 PM EDT
He was second on the team in goals last season.
Aug 19, 2014, 3:40 PM EDT
Capology and Corsi gone wild in Toronto.
Aug 19, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT
It’s 105 games long and — perhaps most importantly — starts in just 33 days.
Aug 19, 2014, 1:35 PM EDT
Pending NHL Board of Governors approval.
Aug 19, 2014, 1:23 PM EDT
After just one year on the job?
Aug 19, 2014, 12:29 PM EDT
And his agent says NHL teams are now expressing an interest.
Aug 19, 2014, 11:26 AM EDT
It’s quite the honor to wear the “C” on Broadway.
Aug 19, 2014, 10:35 AM EDT
So much for the trial of the decade.
Aug 19, 2014, 9:57 AM EDT
Former North Dakota star had 25 goals for AHL Hartford last year.
Aug 19, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
There are murmurs about a training camp tryout.
Aug 19, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
An offseason full of change for the 2014 Stanley Cup finalists.
Aug 18, 2014, 11:03 PM EDT
There’s still time to bridge the gap, though.
Aug 18, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT
He’ll probably own most of the franchise’s major records by next season.
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