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Wild look for better result against Blackhawks

by Brian Hedger


(Chicago leads best-of-7 series 1-0)


Big story: After falling behind 1-0 in the series by losing late in overtime Tuesday at United Center, the Minnesota Wild head back to Chicago for Game 2 after spending the past two days in Minnesota. Not making the trip is forward Jason Pominville, who missed the series opener with an upper-body injury stemming from an illegal hit to the head by Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown late in the regular season. The Wild will bring goalie Niklas Backstrom and defenseman Clayton Stoner, each injured Tuesday, but it's unclear if either will play. The Chicago Blackhawks are looking to take control of the series before it shifts to Xcel Energy Center this weekend.

Team Scope:

Wild: Minnesota did everything right in Game 1 except win the game. The Wild tightened defensively and forced the Blackhawks to the outside. Josh Harding was brilliant in net making an emergency start for Backstrom, and might need to do it again if the Wild's top goaltender can't play. The top line -- featuring free-agent acquisition Zach Parise -- nearly won it in OT, but needs to produce more, and the other free agent prize, defenseman Ryan Suter, played 41:08. His defense partner, rookie Jonas Brodin, logged 34:20, which Suter forewarned him about.

"I told him before the playoffs, 'Eat good, drink a lot of water,'" Suter said. "After the game last night, he's a pretty shy guy, so he'll wait to get his food until after the older guys. A lot of the young guys do, but I just told him, 'Get in there, nobody cares anymore. It's all about being ready to play.' He's doing good. He's got a great attitude."

Blackhawks: Chicago will again be without center Dave Bolland and goalie Ray Emery, but Corey Crawford was sharp in Game 1 after allowing a bad goal to Cal Clutterbuck early in the first period.

Crawford was the starter heading into the season then split time with Emery as the season progressed, but each had a great season, and Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville feels comfortable with either in net.

Bolland's absence has been mitigated somewhat by the play of veteran Michal Handzus at center on the second line. Heading into Game 2, Quenneville hopes to see his team stay out of the penalty box, which resulted in four Wild power plays in Game 1

"Discipline's key," Quenneville said. "We want to make sure the penalties we take are good penalties. Let's make sure they're not the cheap ones, where it's around the hands and because you're not working to get in position."

Who's hot: Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw led the team with seven hits, blocked a shot and won 47 percent of his faceoffs. Crawford stopped 25 straight shots after allowing a goal on the first one he saw. … Harding made 35 saves in his emergency role.

Injury report: Emery (lower body) and Bolland (undisclosed) are each day-to-day. … Wild forward Dany Heatley (left shoulder) is out the remainder of the season. Backstrom (lower body) and Stoner (unspecified injury) are day-to-day.

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