Friday, May 2, 2014

Keys To Victory Against Chicago

Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn/USA Today
Here are the Wild's keys to victory in their second round series against Chicago:

Goaltending Carousel: Darcy Kuemper was lost late in Game Seven with an apparent head injury. Ilya Bryzgalov came in, and was only needed to make one save (it was a rather big one in overtime) to pickup the relief win for the Wild. Bryzgalov started games one and two for the Wild in their first round series, and did not put up great numbers. Yes, the defense is partly to blame, but there were some saves where you thought "he should have stopped that one". The Wild will need the Bryz of the regular season (7-1-3, 2.12 GAA, .911 save percentage) in this series, if they want a chance to beat the Blackhawks.

Shoot high glove: The Wild figured out where to shoot on Semyon Varlamov in Game Seven. High glove side. The same strategy should be enforced when the Wild take on the Blackhawks netminder, Corey Crawford. Crawford has always appeared to have a weakness when it comes to his glove side. When the Wild were able to score on Crawford in last year's playoff series, it was high glove side. For further study on this theory, search any goal allowed on Corey Crawford.

Use Your Depth: Minnesota won their first round series thanks in large part to their depth at forward. Their third and fourth lines contributed big time, including three out of the five goals scored by the team in Game Seven. Chicago also has good depth at the forward position, lead by their power top six featuring names like Toews, Kane, Sharp, and Hossa. For success in this series, the Wild will need their third and fourth lines to keep contributing like they did in the first round.

Stay Physical: When the Wild upped their physical play against the Avs, they were more effective in shutting down the opposition. More of their physical play came at home when the Wild really needed it (it also helps to have the home crowd behind you). The Blackhawks just came out of a physical series against the Blues. It will more than likely carry over to this series. If the Hawks take it to the Wild in the physical department, it could be a long series.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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