Happy Mother's Day. The best-of-seven Second Round matchup between the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks is knotted at two with the series breezing back to the Windy City on your special day.
If you didn’t know, the Hawks are undefeated at the United Center during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a perfect 5-0. Of course, the Wild has yet to lose in the State of Hockey, why we’re here tonight with both teams looking to take the series edge.
After dropping the first two in Chicago, the Wild turned things around in the State of Hockey, winning two games in convincing fashion. You’d think that would favor the Wild, but momentum in a hockey series is about as consistent as your Jell-O salad (haha, just kidding ma). Although he’s never tried your delicious dessert, Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo knows that each game in a series differs from the last.
“I don’t want to sit here and say, ‘That’s great, we’ve got ourselves back in the series,’ and take another step back,” Yeo said. “This is a real challenge.
“We’re not just here because we want to make a series of it; we believe that we can win this series.”
The Blackhawks are defending Stanley Cup champions, so you can expect them to be fired up tonight back on home ice. Remember last season? The Hawks eliminated the Wild on the way to the Cup. Minnesota knows all too well that this is a dangerous club.
“We still know who we’re playing against and what they’re capable of,” Yeo said.
As much as I’d like to just bring you good updates, I’ve got some bad news to deliver. Defenseman Keith Ballard is out of the lineup tonight after suffering an upper-body injury in Game 4, taking a hit from behind from Brandon Bollig. The Chicago wing was given a two-game suspension from the National Hockey League.
Taking Ballard’s place will be blueliner Nate Prosser. The defenseman came out of the lineup after Game 2, but looks to get back on track tonight and add a physical element to the contest.
“He’s had a good playoffs for us,” Yeo said. “You don’t go through a playoffs like we have without a couple of tough moments, so we’re expecting him to come in and do what he’s done, over and over, for us and be a strong steady presence on the back end.”
The rest of the lineup will look the same, while goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov is back between the pipes looking for a third-straight ‘W’ (hockey talk for win).
So that’s about all I’ve got for updates today. Hope you’re having a wonderful day!
P.S. Zach Parise was asked if the Wild played a trap with hilarious results. He could hardly contain the grin coming across his face when he said, “Show me a team in the League that doesn’t trap. Every team plays a trap.” I thought he was going to burst out laughing when he added, “We’re just doing it pretty well right now.” Good times.
P.P.S. Card is in the mail, promise.