Game Time: 2:00PM Central
TV/Radio: NBC, RDS, TSN/WGN720
Hootenanny: Hockey Wilderness
Game 1 was far from perfect. There was yet another two goal lead that vanished and some glaring holes were once again visible. The Hawks are capable of pulling away from a team in a hurry (just watch whenever Kaner decides to freak the fuck out) but they’ve also shown they are more than willing to let other teams right back into games. I would be more concerned with this trait if it didn’t seem to be a league-wide thing this year. It seems every game has had its share of blown two-goal leads. Not sure of the reason for it but at least it makes for some pretty exciting, heart attack inducing hockey.
As it is with many playoff series, this one is going to largely come down to health on both sides. At the moment, it’s the Wild that are a little beat up. forward Jason Zucker, d-man Keith Ballard along with goalies Josh Harding Darcy Kuemper and Nicklas Backstrom are all out at the moment. The Wild are having about as much good luck with goalies as Spinal Tap has with drummers. The goalie situation is most concerning for the Wild as missing all three of those guys means they have to trust noted headcase Ilya Bryzgalov. Bryz hasn’t had a meltdown but he’s not the same kind of goalie like Ryan Miller who you fear will steal a game from you at any given point. Though by saying that, watch them get a goalie win now. Behind Bryz, the Wild have only John Curry who has played all of 6 games in the NHL. Bryz’s number in the last 5 games go right into the “woof” column, 4.96gaa and .819sv%.
Injuries for the Hawks are far less drastic. They’re only likely to be down Andrew Shaw after he took a big hit in the first from Stoner. Q’s said the injury is only day-to-day and he’s listed as questionable but I’d be surprised to see him suit up. We are likely to see the return of Kris Versteeg in this game though. Evidently Steeger was simply under the weather a bit for Game 1 and Q decided it was best to bench him for another game. So whatever message Q was trying to send has hopefully been received. While we of course are going to keep beating our drum for Morin, we’re likely to see Joakim Nordstrom… because doesn’t like for us to have nice things.
The Wild actually took to the ice for a full practice yesterday and it appears Yeo is moving around his bottom 6. Dany Heatley was dropped to the fourth line in favor of Justin Fontaine. The centers on both lines, Kyle Brodziak and Erik Haula are also switching things up. It’s pretty damn depressing to see Heatley shifted down to the 4th line. Or it would be anyway if he wasn’t such a gigantic tool. He seems like a textbook case of wasted potential.
It’s fairly telling that even with a 3 goal victory, plenty of the Hawks have voiced their displeasure with how game 1 turned out. The numbers back things up too. Despite the 3 goal win, the possession numbers are all fairly close, some even going in the Wild’s favor. Game 2’s have been notoriously tricky for the Hawks. None of us need a repeat of last year’s series against Scum.
Let’s Go Hawks