May 4, 2014, 5:52 PM EST
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.
Mar 6, 2015, 8:22 PM EST
More reaction to what transpired earlier this week.
Mar 6, 2015, 7:37 PM EST
Yeah, not a very good effort in Arizona on Thursday.
Mar 6, 2015, 6:39 PM EST
Those contract extensions were announced Friday.
Mar 6, 2015, 5:00 PM EST
Meaning Anders Lindback looks to play against Ottawa tonight.
Mar 6, 2015, 4:00 PM EST
“There’s no such thing as a ‘must-win.’ Nobody gets locked up or thrown in the ocean or anything like that.”
Mar 6, 2015, 3:13 PM EST
Gritty forward will miss most of the remainder of the regular season.
Mar 6, 2015, 2:19 PM EST
“There’s no question Chiarelli would have a chance to work as soon as he wanted to.”
Mar 6, 2015, 2:03 PM EST
News and notes from around the crease…
Mar 6, 2015, 1:43 PM EST
Not the best timing for Winnipeg.
Mar 6, 2015, 1:13 PM EST
Making it virtually impossible for him to play again this season.
Mar 6, 2015, 1:10 PM EST
However, “We’re not hearing that from fans. Fans like the way the game is.”
Mar 6, 2015, 12:41 PM EST
The Scotiabank Saddledome opened in 1983.
Mar 6, 2015, 12:38 PM EST
It’s likely he’ll take the morning skate on Saturday.
Mar 6, 2015, 12:08 PM EST
“It was a mutual agreement between both parties.”
Mar 6, 2015, 11:50 AM EST
Hence, all the trades.
Mar 6, 2015, 11:43 AM EST
Huge blow to Colorado’s already slim playoff chances.
Mar 6, 2015, 11:01 AM EST
A bad week for the Jets and Canucks.
Mar 6, 2015, 10:53 AM EST
Which is good, considering he’s in the final year of his entry-level deal.
Mar 6, 2015, 9:50 AM EST
Both players were scheduled to become restricted free agents after this season.
Mar 6, 2015, 9:45 AM EST
He was handed the key to the city on Thursday in Ottawa.
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