In the 2014 postseason, Minnesota Wild forward Erik Haula made a name for himself with strong play against the Chicago Blackhawks. He’ll get a chance to do so again starting with Game 2 on Sunday.
The Pioneer Press’ Chad Graff reports that Haula will make his 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs debut with Justin Fontaine injured. It appears as though Haula may line up with Matt Cooke and Kyle Brodziak.
Again, the Blackhawks will be all-too-familiar with the 24-year-old’s work.
The Finn scored three goals and two assist for five points in Minnesota’s competitive six-game series with the Blackhawks. One of those tallies was a game-winner:
He hasn’t made much of an impact at the NHL level outside of that great work against Chicago, which probably explains why he wasn’t able to crack the Wild lineup before Game 2 (it doesn’t help his cause that Minnesota’s become increasingly deep at the forward position, mind you).
To state the obvious, the Wild would be overjoyed if Haula can make history repeat itself … although a series win would be a welcome twist.
The Minnesota Wild will be without forward Justin Fontaine on Sunday.
Fontaine left Game 1 with 8:49 remaining in the second period due to a lower body injury and did not return.
Wild coach Mike Yeo would not say who would replace Fontaine in Game 2.
The 27-year-old has a goal and an assist in six playoff games while averaging 10:45 in time on ice.
The Minnesota Wild couldn’t fully complete the comeback against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, losing Game 1 of this second-round series.
“They came out flying and we weren’t really up to speed. Finally in the second period we got playing the way were capable of,” Ryan Suter told Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
It’s one loss. The Wild has been in much more dire situations, like the one that clouded over that team in January.
A late second-period goal from Teuvo Teravainen — his first career playoff goal — proved to be the winner in this series opener for Chicago, after the Wild got back into the game, erasing a three-goal deficit from the first period.
“If you want to ask, we’re not rattled right now,” said Wild head coach Mike Yeo, as per Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press.
It could be that these two teams are digging in for a long series. The Wild has left an impression on the Blackhawks.
“They’re a really good hockey team. You can just feel that out there. They’re just after you like crazy,” Blackhawks Niklas Hjalmarsson told Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.
And it could be this series comes down to goaltending, between Devan Dubnyk and Corey Crawford.
Minnesota forward Justin Fontaine left the game midway through the second period and did not return.