Back-to-backs are never fun. B2Bs in a compressed schedule are even less fun. B2Bs where the 2nd game is against the undefeated - and rested - Blackhawks are downright cruel.
The Wild got a glimpse of what life can be like with secondary scoring last night, when Butch popped in the GWG. Hopefully that inspires the rest of the non-first liners. I thought Setoguchi and Cullen continued to improve their play overall, but something's missing on that line and it appears it might be Granlund after hearing Yeo has had to sit him down, pull him aside for extra counseling, etc. Nothing wrong with that - he is still a rookie, afterall - but that could be what's holding back the Setoguchis of the team.
Normally you could say the Wild has tired legs as an excuse. But they've managed to let the Blues and the BJs both back into games in the third period, when both opponents had played the night before. So we'll see if that only applies to the Wild, I guess.
It wasn't out of line to suggest last night's game was a "must win" in this shortened season, so it's not out of line to suggest tonight's game is a major measuring stick. The Hawks are not going to go 48-0-0, so why can't their first loss be tonight?
Hards needs to rebound from a middling effort his last game out. His numbers: 1-1-0, 2.56 GAA, .902 SPCT.
Lots of hyperbole getting thrown at this team right now - and deservedly so. Consider: Minnesota's top line (which has been so great) has a combined 23 points in six games. Chicago's top line also has a combined 23 points in six games. But, the Wild's next three highest scoring forwards have a combined six points (including PMB, Granlund, Cullen). While the Hawks' next three highest scoring forwards have a combined thirteen points (Sharp, Bolland, Bickell).
Crawford has been the beneficiary of all this offense. He's posted a 5-0-0 record, with a 1.78 GAA and a .933 SPCT.
The Hawks can hurt you in myriad different ways and are not shy about doing so. Their coaches got to scout the Wild last night, and it's not like they needed any additional advantage. Of the two teams, Chicago is not the one that needs to play their "best game" in order to win tonight, and that's bad news for Minnesota.
G/GM MIN T16th 2.67 CHI T4th 3.67
GA/GM MIN T14th 2.83 CHI T6th 2.17
PP% MIN 16th 19.2% CHI 8th 26.9%
PK% MIN 10th 83.3% CHI 2nd 95.6%
Players in top 30 in league scoring:
MIN 2 (Parise T7th, Koivu T12th)
CHI 2 (Kane T7th, Hossa T12th)
Wild played better last night, not good enough to beat a rested Blackhawks team tonight, though.
Final score: 4-2 Chicago wins
Wild goal scorer: Heatley