Chicago Blackhawks Vs. Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild (26-19-3) at Chicago Blackhawks (36-7-5)
NHL Hockey: Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 9:30 pm (United Center)
The Line: Chicago Blackhawks -275 / Minnesota Wild 235 — Over/Under: 5 See the Latest Odds
This just hasn’t been the return to the post season that the Minnesota Wild were looking for. Their No. 1 goaltender Niklas Backstrom was injured in warmups before ever playing a second in their opening round series with the Blackhawks. Josh Harding has filled in admirably but he was injured in Game 4, leaving the Wild with the woefully inexperienced Darcy Kuemper to tend the net. It has just been that kind of a series for the Wild and despite their valiant effort in Game 3 that found them victorious in overtime it looks like this hockey club is on their last legs. Kuemper has appeared in just seven total games for the Wild and he might be called upon to save their season on Thursday night. Kuemper allowed a goal on the first shot he faced and finished the game with 16 saves on 18 shots in the 3-0 loss. Patrick Sharp scored goals in the first and second periods and Bryan Bickell added his third goal of the series in the third to finish the scoring. The Blackhawks are just the better team in this series and they really shouldn’t have much trouble ending this series in five games. If the Wild were to win this one it would be a very big surprise. Corey Crawford had a relatively easy night, stopping all 24 shots he faced to record the shutout. Sharp now has four goals in the opening round series and because of his play the struggles of captain Jonathan Toews aren’t as noticeable. Toews is still yet to get on the score sheet through the first four games of the series. Chicago hasn’t been dominant in this series but they’ve been good enough to build their 3-1 lead. With a potential second round match up against the San Jose Sharks or Detroit Red Wings looming the Blackhawks need to use their series clincher against the Wild as a tune up for a much more difficult series to come.
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