Minnesota Wild (43-27-12) at Chicago Blackhawks (46-21-15)
|Date & Time||Sunday May 4, 2014, 3:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Chicago Blackhawks -193 / Minnesota Wild +175 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Blackhawks look to take a 2-0 series lead with another convincing win on home ice as they host he Wild at the United Center on Sunday.
The Wild escaped a very entertaining first round with the Colorado Avalanche by winning the final two games of the series including an overtime victory in the deciding seventh game but they were rewarded with a second round matchup with the defending Cup champs. Minnesota is a very solid team that can run four lines, has a deep blue line, and a solid head coach but their goaltending has been a question mark since Josh Harding was sidelined and now that Darcy Kuemper is out and the goaltending duties fall on Ilya Bryzgalov I think the Wild might be in trouble. Minny was hanging tough with the Hawks for the most part in game one as they rallied from two goals down to tie the game in the third period but three late goals sealed their fate and now they have to fight to draw even if they hope to steal away home ice advantage. Bryzgalov will go head to head with Corey Crawford who continues to be underrated but as long as he is winning hockey games than the Hawks welcome the scrutiny.
The Blackhawks have been on cruise control since dropping the first two games of their series with St. Louis as they have ripped off five straight wins and can head to the road for games three and four in Minnesota with another win on Sunday. The United Center has been kind to Chicago in the postseason over the last couple of seasons as the crowd gets behind their team and really sets the tone and with this being an afternoon game and the Bulls being eliminated I can see even more Chicago fans getting involved and hopefully cheering their team on to another Cup title. The Hawks are as deep as they come and are very sound in all facets of the game making them very hard to beat and while the Wild do match up with them fairly well in some aspects I don’t trust Minny’s goaltending anymore so long as Kuemper is on the sidelines. I anticipate that the Hawks will keep their winning ways intact at least for one more game and I like them to take the edge here once again and go up 2-0.