Wild @ Blackhawks Preview, Game 1: Get to Crawford

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

Fresh off a thrilling game seven win, Minnesota will square off against the defending champs.

On to the next one! After ending #AnyoneButThem before it ever was thing, Minnesota now gets the Chicago Blackhawks in the semifinals of the Western Conference Stanley Cup Playoffs. This is the second time Minnesota has appeared in the semifinal round in their franchise history. Minnesota and Chicago faced each other in the first round of last spring’s playoffs. The Blackhawks won that series in five games en route to a second Stanly Cup Championship in a four year stretch.

Corey Crawford was on cloud-nine in that cup run, playing the best hockey of his career and posting impressive numbers, owning a 1.84 GAA and a .932 SV%. Pretty remarkable run for a guy that made about a dozen other starts in the playoffs and posted pedestrian numbers at BEST before last years cup-run. The Hawks netminder was solid again in the opening round of this years playoffs, posting similar numbers from last years playoff run, and quieting a (deflated) but talented Blues team.

Chicago is much more talented and deeper team than Colorado was, and dont worry, we here at Hockey Wilderness got all that trolling out of our systems. Yet the Wild know they can get inside Crawford head pretty quick. The Wild won the season series 3-1-1 against Chicago. No one loves Corey Crawford more than Jason Pominville. Pommer scored four goals against Chicago this year and tallied five point in five games. There's been a lot of talk for Pommer to light the lamp more, well there's nothing like a little Crawford cooking to get Pommer going! Crawford is 5-3-2 with a 2.38 GAA and a .906 SV% in 11 games (10 starts) against Minnesota

lya Bryzgalov will start game one of the series after Kuemper left game seven with concussion like symptoms. Bryz is 8-6-5 with a 2.51 GAA, a .915 SV% and one shutout in 21 games the Hawks in his career. There's no lineup changes, but Dany Heatley is back on the top power-play unit for Minnesota. His goal in game seven and overall presence in games 3-7 were noticeable. Heater will play alongside Nino Niederreiter and Eric Haula.

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