April 29, 2013 by The Hockey Daily.
The Chicago Blackhawks are the President Trophy winning Stanley Cup favourites with a core of proven playoff performers. The Minnesota Wild are a newly put together group of good pieces in important positions. The additions of LW Zach Parise, RW Jason Pominville and D Ryan Suter give the Wild some pretty good high end stuff to throw on the ice in this first round war with the Hawks. Is it good enough to challenge the league’s best team throughout 48 games?
The Hawks Are A Powerhouse.
The Hawks have it all going on right now. They led the league in multiple categories this season including even strength goal differential, goals against, and wins. The Hawks are stacked with quality talent up front. C Jonathan Toews, RW Patrick Kane and RW Marian Hossa form an offensive trio very few teams can compare to. Plus, the Hawks offensive stars are among the best two-way players in the game today, so there are no defensive worries when they put their big boys step on the ice looking to score. Their puck possession game is undeniably the best in the league which means they’re going to have the puck more than the Wild. That gives them a huge edge in this series.
What Are The Wild Up Against?
The Wild are good. They are very good even, but the Hawks are the worst possible matchup for them. The Wild won’t get to enjoy the quickness advantage they have on most teams because the Hawks are also very quick. The Wild won’t get to use their power play often against a Hawks team that is very disciplined, unless the Hawks suddenly become undisciplined. The Wild are going to have to be as good as the league’s best five on five team and make very few mistakes because the Hawks make their opponents pay for mistakes with losses almost every time. But the Wild can do it if they get the bounces and the goaltending. Minny will have to win the goaltending matchup to win this series – not impossible to do. Chicago’s great goaltending duo have a lot to prove now, and the pressure is on. The Wild have no pressure. All they need to do is frustrate defensively and cash in on their chances. A similar strategy many underdog teams will exercise in the first round.
Does Winning The Presidents’ Trophy Work For The Hawks Or Against Them?
Well if you’re looking for a safe bet the NHL’s President Trophy winner should win in theory but that don’t always happen. In the last eight seasons the Presidents Trophy winner has lost in the first round 50% of the time, including thrice in the last four years. The Chicago Blackhawks last Presidents Trophy win was spoiled by a first round loss to none other than the Minnesota North Stars in 1991. Uuhhh Oohhh. These are the pieces of information that remind us anyone can win in the playoffs. As good as the Hawks have looked all season that doesn’t make them unstoppable.
Hawks In 6.
The Hawks are just too powerful and too motivated. After taking a few years to recover from their Stanley Cup in 2010, Quenneville’s crew have that hunger again. However, the Wild will come to play and make it close.