The Minnesota Wild
Can Win Because…
They’re on a roll right now. No one has really noticed but this team is playing at a very high level right now. They went 6-1-1 to finish the regular season and then upended the No. 2 seeded Colorado Avalanche in Round 1.
Mike Yeo’s club is playing just about as good as they have during his tenure. Zach Parise is tied for the NHL postseason lead with 10 points while Mikko Koivu has six and Charlie Coyle has five. They scored 22 goals in Round 1. If their offense stays clicking like that, they’ll have a great shot to upset the Blackhawks.
The Chicago Blackhawks Can Win Because…
This is child’s play for them. The Blackhawks really get a gift here. After going toe-to-toe with the St. Louis Blues, who were probably the best team in the conference, they now get a freebie with the seventh-seeded Minnesota Wild. The Wild got past the young Avalanche in the first round for a couple of reasons: they were able to score at will and the Avs couldn’t do anything on the road. As mentioned, the Wild scored 22 goals in seven games but that’s borderline shocking for a team that was 24th in the NHL during the regular season, averaging 2.43 goals per game. On top of that, the Avs were 0-3 on the road while getting outscored 8-3.
The Blackhawks will be sound defensively and far more competitive on the road. The Wild, who are enduring even more goaltender injuries now, are not going to last in this series. Take the Blackhawks with your NHL picks.
Blackhawks in 6 at TheGreek
Outlook & Pick
The Blackhawks go from playing the best defensive team in the league and one of the most physical, to a low-level Western Conference foe. This is a gift. The Wild will probably stretch this series one more game than last season but Chicago still advances rather easily.