Cleat Geeks

Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Chicago Blackhawks

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Preview:

The second round starts May 1st in Chicago. In the first round, the Blackhawks beat the Nashville Predators in six games and the Wild took down the St. Louis Blues in six games. The Blackhawks went 3-2 versus the Wild in the regular season. This will be the third straight year the two teams have faced each other in the playoffs.

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How the Wild win:

The series could turn in Minnesota’s favor if defenseman, Ryan Suter can slow Jonathan Toews down. Toews had 3 goals, 5 assists in the first round and seems to be pretty unstoppable. Minnesota is deceivingly deep up front and could force the Blackhawks defensemen to be overworked. Goalie Devan Dubnyk gives the Wild an edge, but needs to be even better to stop Toews, Kane, and Sharp.

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How the Blackhawks win:

All they need is to straighten out their goaltending problem. Corey Crawford will start game 1. He was 1-1 with a 4.19 goals-against average and .850 save percentage in the first round before being replaced by Scott Darling. Crawford needs to work even harder this series. The Blackhawks can’t allow Zach Parise to take advantage on goaltending instability.

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Prediction:

The Blackhawks are experienced and have knocked the Wild out of the playoffs the last two years (six games in 2014 and five games in 2013). Devan Dubnyk will be the obstacle for the Blackhawks, but I see the Blackhawks winning in 7 games.

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