Friday, May 2, 2014

Key Players For The Wild Against Chicago

Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Wild/Blackhawks begin tonight. Lets take a meander at the player the Wild need to step up (or continue on, in one case) as they open up the second round.

Jason Pominville: Had it not been for the empty net goal in game six, Pominville would have been held to zero goals in the first round. The Wild's leading goal scorer in the first round was kept in check by the Avalanche, but still managed to get five points (1-4-5) in seven games. During the season, Pominville had a 4-1-5 line against the Blackhawks in five games. He will be needed to fire off clap bombs like this one, to get the Wild into the Conference Finals.

Dany Heatley: Did someone throw Dany Heatley into the fountain of youth before the first round? After round one, Dany Heatley leads the NHL postseason in points per 60 minutes. Let me read that again. Dany Heatley leads the NHL postseason in points per 60 minutes. The resurgent Heatley has been a solid player for the Wild, despite being mainly on the fourth line in his five games played. In Game Seven, Heatley registered three points (one goal, two assists) and and played a huge part in the winning goal for Nino Niederreiter.

Jared Spurgeon: With the firepower Chicago possesses up front, the Wild will need their defense to be rock solid. No defenseman has had more of an up and down couple of months than Jared Spurgeon. Spurgeon has been not so good at times, but then he can quickly turn it around and have some great games. He simply cannot afford to have some bad games in this series. Chicago will have no trouble eating him up, if he is having a bad night.

Ilya Bryzgalov: Hey look! Bryz is back on this list for a second consecutive series! But this time, it comes after Darcy Kuemper had to be relieved of his goaltending duties after suffering an apparent head injury in Game Seven. Bryz was not great in round one (1-2, 4.25 GAA, .826 save percentage), but not all of that was on him. But if the Wild want to have a prayer in this series, it starts with Bryzgalov. He needs to play better. Period. A .826 save percentage in the second round might get the Wild one win. Might.

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