I will try and refrain from opinion and stick to fact. Below is a comparison of both teams.
SEASON SERIES — The Blackhawks did well against Minnesota this year, taking the season series 2-0-1 and outscoring the Wild 8-6, including a 1-0 shutout with Ray Emery in net.Marian Hossa scored both game-winning goals for the Blackhawks, while Matt Cullen scored the game-winner for the Wild.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS —
- Marian Hossa, Bryan Bickell, Jonathan Toews, and Brandon Saad scored a point per game in the regular-season series.
- Bryan Bickell and Marian Hossa led the team in goals with two each.
- Patrick Sharp led all Blackhawks with 14 shots on net.
- The Blackhawks were 0-for-7 (0%) on the powerplay vs. the Wild.
- The Blackhawks are 26-2-1 when they score first, and 10-5-4 when their opponents score first.
MINNESOTA WILD —
- Devin Setoguchi and Matt Cullen led the Minnesota Wild with two points each (1G, 1A).
- Only five players (Setoguchi, Clutterbuck, Brodziak, Zucker, Rupp) put up a positive plus/minus rating on the Wild.
- Mikko Koivu led the Wild with eight shots on net. The Wild were 1-for-7 (14.3%) on the powerplay vs. the Blackhawks.
- The Wild are 18-4-1 when they score first, and 8-15-2 when their opponents score first.
OFFENSE BLACKHAWKS — Below is a breakdown of each line and how effective they were against the Wild this season.
- Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toews, and Marian Hossa combined for nine points (4G, 5A) and a plus-12 rating.
- Patrick Sharp, Dave Bolland, and Patrick Kane contributed four points (1G, 3A) and a plus-2 rating.
- Bryan Bickell, Andrew Shaw, and Viktor Stalberg contributed six points (3G, 3A) and a plus-1 rating.
- Brandon Bollig, Marcus Kruger, and Michael Frolik contributed one point (1A) and a minus-2 rating.
- Michal Handzus, who is expected to play on the 2nd line in place of Bolland, only appeared in one game and did not register a point. Dan Carcillo is the last forward that did appear in a game, but he did not register any points either.
OFFENSE WILD — Below is a breakdown of each line and how effective they were against the Blackhawks this season.
- Dany Heatley, Mikko Koivu, and Zach Parise combined for a total of two points and minus-10 rating.
- Jason Zucker, Matt Cullen, and Devin Setoguchi contributed five points (2G, 3A) and a plus-2 rating.
- Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Kyle Broadziak, and Jason Pomminville contributed one point (1G) and a minus-2 rating.
- Cal Clutterbuck, Torrey Mitchell, and Mike Rupp contributed three points (1G, 2A) and a plus-2 rating.
- Charlie Coyle, who is expected to play on the 1st line in place of Heatley, appeared in two games but did not register a point. Michael Granlund, Darrell Powe, and Zenon Konopka are among the remaining forwards that are not expected to dress in game one.
DEFENSE BLACKHAWKS — Interestingly enough, Niklas Hjalmarsson led the Blackhawks defense in points vs. the Wild this season. In fact, he was the only defenseman to register a point (1A) through the three game series. As a unit, the defense stayed positive with a plus-8 combined rating, and not a single one of them dipped into minus territory.
DEFENSE WILD — The Wild had a bit more success with producing offense from the backend, but not by much. Ryan Suter(1G) and Tom Gilbert (1A) were the only defenseman to register points. Even with a bit of offensive production, not a single defenseman on the team put up a positive rating and they dipped to a minus-8 combined rating for the season.
GOALTENDING DUEL — Corey Crawford (Career vs. Wild: 7 GP 3-1-2, 0 SO, 2.01 GAA, 0.919 SV%) vs. Niklas Backstrom(Career vs. Blackhawks: 15 GP 5-8-1, 1 SO, 2.65 GAA, 0.919 SV%)
LEADERS — For the Blackhawks, Marian Hossa has 20 points (10G, 10A) in 22 career games against the Wild. Jonathan Toews compiled 17 points (6G, 11A) in 18 career games. On defense, Duncan Keith produced 15 points (5G, 10A) in 29 career games.
For the Wild, Ryan Suter leads the team with 26 points (4G, 22A) in 47 career games versus Chicago (his most against any team). Mikko Koivu has 22 points (4G, 18A) in 29 career games vs. the Blackhawks. Matt Cullen also produced 22 points (10G, 12A) vs. Chicago in 36 career games.
I started covering the Chicago Blackhawks in 2007 for IndianHeadNation.com and eventually on Twitter and now The Hockey Writers. Although I’ve never played at a professional level, I have followed the NHL religiously, analytically, and statistically since 1999, and a born fan since 1989. I have one true passion: HOCKEY.