After a horribly slow start, the Minnesota Wild managed to pull it together and walk away with not only a win, but a 4 goal shutout for Ilya Bryzgalov in his first home playoff game for the Wild.
The first two periods of the game were horrible to watch, unless tight defensive teams are really your thing. Even then, it was pretty tough to watch.
The Wild were looking for their big guys to show up, and show up they did. Zach Parise scored A POWERPLAY GOAL!!!!, Jason Pominville got a huge assist and Mikko Koivu was a pain in Jonathan Toews side all night.
But really the story tonight has to be about the young guns on this team. All season the Wild have needed to depend on guys like Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Nino Niederreiter, Erik Haula and Justin Fontaine. They really showed up tonight.
Haula scored the first goal and eventual game winner after a beautiful saucer pass from Fontaine while Matt Moulson pulled the Chicago Blackhawks defenders, leaving Haula wide open.
Granlund had a fantastic night with two goals, nearly 20 minutes of ice time, 3 hits and a few blocked shots. Niederreiter was force around the ice and pulled penalties left and right. Coyle seemed to be tasked with keep Patrick Kane quite most of the night, which was 100% affective (he had one SOG).
Bryz looked great. Yes, he has a history that makes Wild fans nervous as hell, but he had a fabulous game tonight. Not to mention, the Wild have no other options.
Despite Harding practicing with the team, he's nowhere near ready to play, especially in the post season against Chicago. Darcy Kuemper took to the ice before practice this morning, but with head injuries that doesn't mean he's going to be ready to go soon. Niklas Backstom is still recovering from surgery in April and will not be returning this season.
The Wild seem to thrive when they have their backs against the wall. Hopefully they have another great showing Friday night and force at least a game 6. Start time for Friday is 8:30 in case you didn't see the announcement yesterday.