They didn’t give us a whole lot of time, did they? About five minutes after Nino Neiderreiter taught the Avalanche about regression and market correction, the NHL announced that Game 1 between the Hawks and the Wild would be on Friday night with Game 2 to follow Sunday afternoon.
While I don’t put too much stock in it, the schedule should give the Hawks something of an advantage. The Wild’s mind might still be in Denver when they show up here Friday (if not their lungs) and they won’t get much more time after that to refocus on Game 2. And make no mistake, they Wild have to take one of the games here this weekend to have any chance. The Hawks are not the Avalanche and are likely not going to biff two road games in a row for the second time these playoffs. So the Hawks may get something of a distracted opponent.
But that doesn’t mean they can start booking their hotels in Southern California just yet. This Minnesota team is better than the one the Hawks curbed last spring, possibly much better, and is playing its best hockey. It’s also coming off perhaps the franchise’s signature win (Andrew Brunette would like a word) and may be riding the high figuring it’s on house money now with nothing to lose. And it’s not exactly like the Hawks dominated the Wild in the regular season.
Let’s go to the tale of the tape, shall we?