This postseason, the Wild posted a 5-4 overtime victory at
Colorado in Game 7 of their first-round matchup to oust the Central
Division-champion Avalanche and earn a trip to the second round for
the first time since 2003, when they reached the conference final
after overcoming 3-1 series deficits against both Colorado and
Vancouver. The Blackhawks ended the regular season with back-to-back
losses and dropped the first two games of their first-round set
versus St. Louis before reeling off four straight victories.
Minnesota went 3-1-1 against Chicago in 2013-14, splitting a
home-and-home series in late October before posting two one-goal
triumphs and dropping a shootout decision.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS
ABOUT THE WILD: Health in the crease was an issue for Minnesota all
season, and things haven't changed in the playoffs. Rookie Darcy Kuemper, who replaced an ineffective Ilya Bryzgalov after two games
versus Colorado, suffered an upper-body injury with less than 8 1/2
minutes remaining in Game 7 and his status for the series opener
against Chicago is unknown. Despite being kept off the scoresheet
Wednesday, Zach Parise has been the most dangerous offensive weapon
for the Wild as he shares the league lead in playoff scoring with 10
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS: Minnesota will need to keep a close eye on
Jonathan Toews after the Chicago captain scored the game-winning
goal in three of the team's four victories over St. Louis in the
first round. Toews was second on the club during the regular season
with five decisive tallies and is tied for ninth among active
players with nine career playoff game-winners. The reigning Conn
Smythe Trophy winner, Patrick Kane scored the other winning goal
versus the Blues.
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Neither team should fret if it falls behind in the series as both
the Blackhawks and Wild overcame 0-2 deficits in the first round.
Extra time also would be nothing new to these clubs as each went
to overtime on four occasions in their first-round matchups.
Minnesota LW Matt Cooke has three contests remaining on his
seven-game suspension for kneeing Colorado D Tyson Barrie and is
eligible to return for Game 4.
SERIES PREDICTION: Blackhawks in 5
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