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2013 NHL Playoffs: Minnesota Wild vs Chicago Blackhawks Series Preview

The Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild will get a jump-start on their division rivalry which begins next season under the upcoming NHL realignment, as they meet for the first time in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Can the upstart #8 seed storm their way to the championship, just like the Los Angeles Kings did last year?

No, but we'll preview this series anyway....

Who to Boo

This series features any number of villains who can motivate Nashville Predators fans to throw popcorn at their TV's. For Chicago, there are guys like Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith, who played key roles in knocking the Preds out of the 2010 playoffs. On the Minnesota side, you've got the ultimate face-to-heel tag team in Craig Leipold and Ryan Suter, who were both fundamental pieces of the Predators organization before dumping Nashville for the frostier climes of the State of Hockey.

The Stats

Minnesota Wild Chicago Blackhawks
Record 26-19-3 15th 36-7-5 1st
GF/Game 2.46 22nd 3.10 2nd
GA/Game 2.60 15th 2.02 1st
5-on-5 SF/60 27.5 20th 30.6 6th
5-on-5 SA/60 27.1 8th 25.2 4th
Fenwick Close 48.68 18th 55.80 2nd
5-on-5 Save % .912 19th .927 8th
5-on-4 GF/60 5.6 17th 4.6 27th
# of PP's/Gm 3.15 22nd 3.12 23rd
4-on-5 GA/60 6.4 15th 4.7 4th
# of PK's/Gm 2.81 1st 2.94 4th

The good news for the Wild? They don't take very many penalties. The bad news? Chicago doesn't rely on their power play to beat the snot out of you. The Blackhawks are an outsanding 5-on-5 team.

The Blogs

Hockey Wilderness vs. Second City Hockey & The Committed Indian

Minnesota Wild

They're all giddy up in Minny, and for good reason, as their 4th of July free agent spending spree has indeed paid off with a return to the playoffs. Zach Parise led the way up front with 38 points in 48 games, and Ryan Suter is talked about as the favorite to win the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman.

There is more to the Wild than that dynamic duo, however, as forwards Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi can all make a difference up front (even though he's out for the year with a shoulder issue, Heatley can make a helluva cheerleader in the press box). One other guy to keep an eye on, however, is 19-year-old rookie Jonas Brodin, who is getting some Calder Trophy buzz for his work playing 23 minutes a night. That's not only tops among NHL rookie defensemen, but it also included significant work on the power play and penalty kill. You usually don't see that type of well-rounded workload placed on a teenager's shoulders.

Jonas Brodin

#25 / Defenseman / Minnesota Wild



Jul 12, 1993

2012 - Jonas Brodin 45 2 9 11 +3 10 1 0 0 51 3.9

Chicago Blackhawks

After going through a couple years of salary cap hell following their 2010 Stanley Cup championship, the Blackhawks are back with a vengeance, putting together the kind of all-around domination that would generate massive hype if it were to take place during a regular 82-game season. Across a full season, their current pace would yield 131 points in the standings, by far the most under the modern W/L/OTL setup (next is Detroit with 124 in 2005-6). It's not like this team has simply benefitted from good fortune in a short season, either, fighting through injuries to key players like Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp.

While they still boast a number of core players from that championship team, perhaps none has taken a bigger step forward than Patrick Kane, who has shaken off the criticism to put together perhaps his finest season to date:

Patrick Kane

#88 / Right Wing / Chicago Blackhawks



Nov 19, 1988

2012 - Patrick Kane 47 23 32 55 +11 8 8 0 3 138 16.7

Staff Picks

Picks Winner Comment
Dirk Chicago They've been the best team all season, I just don't see them slowing down.
Sam Chicago Sweep
Caroline Chicago Minnesota might win one, but I doubt they win two. Chicago's been on fire all year; they win this handily.
Jonathan Chicago No discussion. If the Wild don't get swept they should consider it a victory.
Chris Chicago Too much talent, too much firepower up front, and too much "Chelsea Dagger." Hawks take it in 6
George Minnesota I'm the contrarian in the group. Also, the Hawks are due to choke. Mild in 6.
Jason Chicago Hawks in 5...max.


Date Time (CTL) Location TV
Tuesday, April 30 7:00 p.m. Chicago NBC Sports Network, CBC
Friday, May 3 8:30 p.m. Chicago NBC Sports Network, CBC
Sunday, May 5 2:00 p.m. Minnesota NBC, CBC
Tuesday, May 7 8:30 p.m. Minnesota NBC Sports Network, CBC
*Thursday, May 9 TBD Chicago CBC
*Saturday, May 11 TBD Minnesota CBC
*Sunday, May 12 TBD Chicago CBC