If there’s a second round series with a clear favorite, it’s the Chicago Blackhawks against the Minnesota Wild.
The defending Stanley Cup champions are facing a team that will potentially be missing its top three goaltenders. It’s also a squad the Blackhawks defeated in five games last year. Not that Chicago thinks that matters much now.
“It is definitely a different team,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville told CSN Chicago. “You’ve got to commend them on how they played at the end of the year to get themselves in the playoffs. Had a great run and had a lot of momentum going into that series, and they played a great series.
“You watch them last night. They played very structured, very solid game.”
Minnesota earned a 5-4 overtime victory against Colorado in Game 7, even after losing goaltender Darcy Kuemper in the third period.
There’s no question that the Wild have dealt with plenty of adversity this season and so far they’ve managed to overcome every obstacle in their path. That’s given them a chance to prove that they are a better team than they were just a year ago.