Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild - 5/11/14
Minnesota Wild (43-27-12) at Chicago Blackhawks (46-21-15)
NHL Hockey: Sunday, May 11, 2014 at 9:00 pm (United Center)
The Line: Chicago Blackhawks -195 / Minnesota Wild +177 --- Over/Under: 5 See the Latest Odds
The Blackhawks return to the United Center looking to reclaim their series lead against the Wild in what has become a best of three series.
The Minnesota Wild remained perfect on home ice in these playoffs as they swept games three and four at the Xcel Energy Center over the last few days and are now drawn even with the defending champs in their Western Conference second round matchup. The Wild played a very sound game four in which they constantly responded to any possible momentum swing from the Hawks and proved they belong to be in this spot with a 4-2 decision behind a brilliant effort from Ilya Bryzgalov who is enjoying a renaissance in Minnesota. However, the Wild have just a single victory on the road in these playoffs with that coming in game seven in overtime against Colorado in the first round and if they’re going to shock the Hawks and come away with the series they need to find a way to win at the United Center. Bryzgalov has been given the green light for the rest of the playoffs it seems and he will have to weather the storm against the Hawks in what should be a very electric game five atmosphere.
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The Blackhawks ripped off four straight wins against the Blues in the opening round and carried that momentum into their series with the Wild by taking the opening two contests but now have been dealt a dose of reality and are back on even terms. Chicago are the defending Cup champions and are a very real threat to repeat but they’ll need to fight their way through the Wild who are a scrappy bunch and one that has a ton of Cup caliber players including Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Chicago returns home where they have been lights out in the postseason going undefeated thus far and with the crowd on Madison being one of the best in the league you can expect they will play a huge role as they have done all season. This series has been very close through the first four matchups with the home team coming away victorious in all four and I expect that trend to continue tonight. I think if Minny gets the win here than the Hawks will be in trouble but I don’t think we see that happen as the Hawks are too good of a team to be sent packing quite yet and I think they send this back to Minny with the series lead.