Finding Nemo… Oh I mean Finding Nino is a great story. Coming into game seven with only one assist and a -3 plus/minus rating, Nino Niederreiter was almost unheard of in the first six games. He has always been thought highly of by the Minnesota Wild but who knew the twenty-one year old would have such a big impact in a pivotal elimination game. With a snap of his wrist, Nino is sending the Minnesota Wild into the second round to face the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Swiss native had a breakout year for the Wild scoring 36 points, with only having 3 career points coming into this year. The Wild knew when they traded for him last year from the New York Islanders, his 6’2" body would be a physical aspect on the ice. His ability to get to the net this year has just been an added bonus. The Wild, gave up a fan favorite in Cal Clutterbuck to get Nino, but after game seven the fans have now fell in the with the twenty-one year old, who enjoys his chocolate, and his Swiss Peaks.
Niederreiter’s job coming into the series with the Avs, was to be a third line grinder. This entailed, being physical with Colorado’s young star, Nathan MacKinnon. He had a much larger role as the series went along; he came into game seven with a goal-scoring mindset. He knew he had to do more. You could see from the start of game seven, when toe-dragged around the Colorado defenseman, Nino was determined to keep the Minnesota Wild alive into the second round of the playoffs. He did not want his season to be over and was doing anything he could to make sure that did not happen. With a final line in the box score of 2 goals and 1 assist, Niederreiter had an amazing night in game seven. He contributed to all of Minnesota’s final three goals. Including his bomb he unleashed in overtime from the top of the circles that flew by Varlamov’s shoulder. You could hear the state of hockey roar as the puck dinged off the butterbar and the Wild advanced.
Next for Nino, he is going to be asked by, Mike Yeo, Minnesota Wild head coach, to continue his role as a physical, grinder player, which we saw him play against MacKinnon. Against the Chicago Blackhawks, I expect Niederreiter to match up with Patrick Kane, to slow down Kane’s dynamic ability to change the game. Although he had a scoring outburst in game seven, don’t expect that throughout the next series. He is a grinder and will score periodically, I predict. Only twenty-one, Nino has a ton of talent. Nino was found by the Wild in the sea of New York, and he is turning into a star in the hearts of the state of hockey fans.
Watch Nino Niederreiter, and the rest of the Minnesota Wild continue to chase the Stanley Cup. Tune in, Friday night to watch them play the Chicago Blackhawks. The Wild will have to bring their A-game throughout the series, if they expect to get past the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
Thanks for reading and watch for more #BicksBlogs as the NHL playoffs continue.