Chicago Blackhawks v Minnesota Wild - Game Four

Get your game notes: ‘Hawks at Wild


Tonight on CNBC, it’s the Minnesota Wild hosting the Chicago Blackhawks starting at 9 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Chicago became the only team to win a second-round game (22 games) after giving up the game’s first goal, rallying for a 2-1 win over Minnesota in Game 5. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews scored the game-winning goal in the third period, his NHL-high fourth GWG of the postseason and franchise-high tenth GWG of his postseason career. He became the fourth player in club history to score at least four GWG in one playoff year: Dustin Byfuglien (2010) had five, and Bobby Hull (1971) and Darryl Sutter (1985) had four apiece. (Elias Sports Bureau)

• Since the postseason debuts of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Blackhawks have been in seven playoff series that were 2-2 after four games, including this series. In those series, they have never lost (13-0) in Games 5 or 6, winning one game each at home and away and clinching each previous series in six games. Four of those series-clinching Game 6s were on the road.

Series | Opponent | Game 5 | Game 6
2009 Western Conf. Qtrs. Calgary 5-1 (H) 4-1 (A)
2009 Western Conf. Semis Vancouver 4-2 (A) 7-5 (H)
2010 Western Conf. Qtrs. Nashville 5-4, OT (H) 5-3 (A)
2010 Stanley Cup Final Philadelphia 7-4 (H) 4-3, OT (A)
2013 Stanley Cup Final Boston 3-1 (H) 3-2 (A)
2014 1st Round St. Louis 3-2, OT (A) 5-1 (H)
2014 2nd Round Minnesota 2-1 (H) TBD (A)

• The Blackhawks (6-0) and Wild (5-0) remain the only teams with perfect records at home this postseason. Minnesota has outscored Colorado (8-3 in three games) and Chicago (8-2 in two games) by a combined 16-5 on home ice. This series, the Wild have gotten goals at home from seven different players: Mikael Granlund (2), Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, Justin Fontaine, Nino Niederreiter, Erik Haula and Jared Spurgeon.

• Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (27 saves) outdueled his Wild counterpart, Ilya Bryzgalov (26 saves), in Game 5. The two goalies have each allowed 11 goals and boast comparable numbers over the course of the series (Crawford: 3-2, 2.23 GAA, .913 save%; Bryzgalov: 2-3, 2.21 GAA, .899 save%, shutout). However, home ice has been much kinder for both of them.

• In Game 5, Blackhawks winger Bryan Bickell scored his fourth goal of the series and sixth of the postseason, tying him with Evgeni Malkin and Jussi Jokinen (PIT) for the second-most in the playoffs (Marian Gaborik, LA – 8). Bickell has an NHL-high 15 goals in the past two postseasons (34 games). Seven of those goals have come vs. Minnesota, in two series (10 games).

• In 12 games this postseason, the Wild have registered 109 takeaways and 55 giveaways, for a league-best +54 margin. Three Minnesota players have at least 10 takeaways: center Mikko Koivu, winger Nino Niederreiter (11 each) and defenseman Marco Scandella (10). Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa leads all individual players, with 15 takeaways, while only registering two giveaways, for a league-best +13 margin.

Let’s look at the all-important U.S. Thanksgiving standings

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If you haven’t heard, U.S. Thanksgiving is pretty significant among NHL folk — and no, not just because everybody got the night off.

(Well, most people got the night off. I’m here. But I’m Canadian and don’t mind working what we refer to as “Thursday, But With More Football.”)

See, turkey day has major ramifications for the NHL playoffs. As CBC put it, conventional wisdom says American Thanksgiving is “a mark on the calendar where essentially the playoffs are decided.”

To further illustrate that point, the Associated Press (courtesy STATS) ran a report last year showing that — since the 2005-06 season — teams in a playoff spot entering the holiday have gone on to make the Stanley Cup postseason 77.3 per cent of the time.

So yeah. Late November standings are worth paying attention to.

And a quick glance at those standings reveals that 16 clubs — Montreal, Ottawa, Boston, New York Rangers, Washington, Pittsburgh, New York Islanders, Detroit, Dallas, St. Louis, Nashville, Los Angeles, San Jose, Vancouver, Chicago and Minnesota — currently have, according to the above statistic, better than a 75 percent chance of making the dance.

The other 14 clubs — Tampa Bay, New Jersey, Florida, Carolina, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Toronto, Columbus, Arizona, Winnipeg, Anaheim, Colorado, Calgary and Edmonton — have less than a 25 percent chance.

Some thoughts:

— The biggest surprises? Two conference finalists from last year’s playoffs on the outside looking in: Anaheim and Tampa Bay. The Ducks are 8-11-4 and with 20 points, five back of the final wild card spot in the West; the Bolts are 11-9-3, tied with the Wings and Isles on 25 points but on the outside looking in due to the tiebreaker.

— To further illustrate how those two clubs have fallen: Last Thanksgiving, Tampa Bay was 15-6-2 with 32 points. Anaheim was 14-4-4 with 33 points. And yes, both were comfortably in playoff positions.

— Three teams that missed from the Western Conference last year (Dallas, Los Angeles, San Jose) are in good shape to get back in. The same cannot be said for the Ducks and two other clubs that made it last year: Winnipeg (three points back of the wild card) and Calgary (eight back).

— Other than Tampa Bay, the East looks remarkably similar to how last year finished. The Habs, Sens, Rangers, Isles, Pens, Red Wings and Caps were all postseason entrants.

— Speaking of the Sens, they deserve mention. Ottawa was outside the playoff picture last Thanksgiving but, as has been well-documented, bucked convention by going on a crazy run down the stretch and pulling off the greatest comeback to the postseason in NHL history.

— And it’s because of those Sens that I’m loathe to write anybody off. Of course, if I was going to write anybody off, it would be Carolina and Columbus and Buffalo and Edmonton.

— If I had to pick one team currently holding a spot that I think will drop out, it’d be Vancouver.

— If I had to pick a second, it’d be the Canucks.

— Finally, it’s worth noting that, last year, only three of the 16 teams holding a playoff spot at Thanksgiving failed to make it: Boston, Toronto and Los Angeles.

— In other words, 81 percent of the teams that were in on turkey day proceeded to qualify.

Avs put big Swedish forward Everberg on waivers

Dennis Everberg, Jason Pominville
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Colorado made a minor roster move on Thursday, putting winger Dennis Everberg on waivers.

Eveberg, 23, made his NHL debut with the Avs last season and had a fairly good rookie season, with 12 points in 55 games. This year, though, his offense was really lacking — Everberg had zero points through his first 15 games, averaging just under nine minutes per night.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder originally came to the Avs after a lengthy stint playing for Rogle BK of the Swedish Hockey League, turning heads with a 17-goal, 34-point effort in 47 games during the ’13-14 campaign.

Should he clear waivers, he’ll be off to the club’s AHL affiliate in San Antonio.

As far as Benning is concerned, ‘the Sedins are going to retire as Vancouver Canucks’

Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin

You may recall over the summer when the Sedin twins were asked by a Swedish news outlet if they’d ever consider waiving their no-trade clauses and playing for a team that wasn’t the Vancouver Canucks.

Their answer? They had no intention — none whatsoever — of leaving Vancouver, even if they were presented with an opportunity to join a Stanley Cup contender.


Yes, there was a but.

They didn’t definitively say they’d refuse to waive. If, for instance, management were to approach them during the final season of their contracts (2017-18), well, maybe they’d have to consider it.

And, so, because it was the summer and there was nothing else to talk about, and because it had only been a short time since the Flames had made the Canucks look so old and slow in the playoffs, it became a topic of conversation among the fans and media.

Today, GM Jim Benning was asked if he’d put an end to the rumors.

“As far as I’m concerned, the Sedins are going to retire as Vancouver Canucks,” Benning told TSN 1040.

Daniel Sedin currently ranks fourth in NHL scoring with 25 points in 23 games. Henrik is tied for 14th with 22 points. Even at 35, they’re still excellent players.

“I don’t know if they’re getting better, but they’re not getting any worse,” said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville on Saturday, after the twins had combined for nine points in beating the defending champs.

It’s also worth noting that there’s far more optimism in Vancouver about the Canucks’ youth. Last year, there was only Bo Horvat to get excited about. This year, there’s Horvat, Jared McCann, Jake Virtanen and Ben Hutton.

True, the youngsters still have a ways to go. And yes, there are still some glaring holes in the Canucks’ lineup — most notably on the blue line, a tough area to address via trade or free agency. 

It may be in Vancouver’s best long-term interests to miss the playoffs this season and get into the draft lottery. 

But you never know, if they hang around a few more years, with a little luck and some good moves by management, the Sedins might not be done chasing the Cup after all.

NHL has no plans to change waiver rules

Manny Malhotra Ryan Stanton
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Even with all the young players that have been healthy scratches this season, don’t expect the NHL to change its waiver rules.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told PHT in an email that it’s not something that’s “ever been considered.”

“For better or worse that’s what waiver rules are there for,” Daly wrote. “They force Clubs to make tough decisions.”

Today, Montreal defenseman Jarred Tinordi became the latest waiver-eligible youngster to be sent to the AHL on a two-week conditioning loan.

Tinordi, 23, has yet to play a single game for the Habs this season. If he were still exempt from waivers, he’d have undoubtedly been sent to the AHL long before he had to watch so many NHL games from the press box.

In light of situations like Tinordi’s, some have suggested the NHL change the rules. Currently, the only risk-free way for waiver-eligible players to get playing time in the AHL is via conditioning stint, and, as mentioned, those are limited to 14 days in length.

So the Habs will, indeed, need to make a “tough decision” when Tinordi’s conditioning stint is up. Do they put him in the lineup? Do they keep him in the press box and wait for an injury or some other circumstance to create an opportunity for him to play? Do they risk losing him to waivers by attempting to send him to the AHL? Do they trade him?

Your call, Marc Bergevin.

Related: Stanislav Galiev is stuck in the NHL