Skip to content

Blackhawks take 2-0 series lead against Wild after pulling away in third period

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

While Patrick Kane understandably grabbed the spotlight in Chicago’s Game 1 win, it’s worth noting that the Bryan BickellJonathan ToewsMarian Hossa line is on fire for the ‘Hawks.

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Injured Crosby, Malkin will miss start of Pens’ camp

    Sep 18, 2014, 11:01 AM EDT

    Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin AP

    Just a precautionary measure, said GM Jim Rutherford.

  2. Paul Martin doesn’t expect extension anytime soon

    Sep 18, 2014, 10:35 AM EDT

    PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 03: Paul Martin #7 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the Ottawa Senators during the game at Consol Energy Center on February 3, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) Getty Images

    He spent a lot of time on the sidelines last season, but Pittsburgh leaned on him heavily when he was healthy.

  3. Selanne offers harsh criticism of Boudreau’s handling of him

    Sep 18, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    Teemu Selanne Getty Images

    Selanne was diplomatic after being made a healthy scratch, but now he’s opening up.

  4. Just how damaging are heated negotiations between Jackets, RFA Johansen?

    Sep 18, 2014, 9:01 AM EDT

    Ryan Johansen AP

    Is it still reasonable to believe this might have a relatively happy ending for both sides?

  5. Ducks invite Yip to training camp for tryout

    Sep 17, 2014, 10:48 PM EDT

    Brandon Yip, Derek Forbort AP

    Brendan Bell also gets a chance to impress.

  6. Blue Jackets say Horton may miss start of 2014-15 season

    Sep 17, 2014, 8:59 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    His back issues present another headache for Columbus.

  7. Report: Canucks invite Wyman to camp

    Sep 17, 2014, 7:50 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v Colorado Avalanche Getty Images

    He has 44 games of NHL experience under his belt.

  8. Wild hand Bryzgalov a training camp tryout

    Sep 17, 2014, 6:39 PM EDT

    Ilya Bryzgalov AP

    Insert your “humongous big” jokes here.

  9. Johansen heads home from Columbus as talks get even messier

    Sep 17, 2014, 5:01 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets  v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Two Getty Images

    His agent says it’s best to leave town and avoiding being a distraction.

  10. Kesler accuses Vancouver media of making up stories, ‘throwing people under the bus’

    Sep 17, 2014, 3:09 PM EDT

    Ryan Kesler Getty Images

    “No matter how much my old teammates say it doesn’t bother them, it affects them. It does in that city.”

  11. In making case, Johansen’s agent stresses importance of top centers

    Sep 17, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    And on the possibility of his client signing an offer sheet? “Well, we’ll have to see.”

  12. Sharks re-sign Braun to five-year, $19 million deal

    Sep 17, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT

    Justin Braun Getty Images

    “Justin has emerged as one of our most well-rounded and dependable defensemen.”

  13. Jackets reveal Johansen offers — including an eight year, $46M deal

    Sep 17, 2014, 1:34 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets  v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Two Getty Images

    “We’ve been told if we don’t give them what they want, they’ll be leaving town.”

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Bennett (1307)
  2. S. Crosby (1153)
  3. P. Rinne (1139)
  4. N. Niederreiter (1137)
  5. B. Schenn (1076)