After closing out the St. Louis Blues Sunday afternoon, the Chicago Blackhawks had to wait until late Wednesday night to find out their next opponent.
It took seven games, but the Minnesota Wild moved on with their series win over the Colorado Avalanche. The Wild entered the playoffs as the first wild card team and upset the Colorado Avalanche on an overtime goal in Game 7.
This will be the second year in a row that the Hawks and Wild will meet up in the playoffs. While everyone knows that the Hawks need their superstars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to perform well in every series, here is a look at three guys that will need to perform well against the Wild.
Sharp has one main duty every game and that is to score goals. His production lacked in the first round as he scored just one goal in the six games. However, that goal came in Game Six and gave the Hawks some breathing room in the third period.
The Hawks hope that goal will help ignite their sniper, who led the team with 34 goals in the regular season.
In the first round series against the Wild in 2013, Sharp led the Hawks with five goals. Sharp is a streaky player and if he catches fire against the Wild, the Blackhawks won’t have a problem taking the series.
The Hawks finally got what they paid for out of Bickell in the first round against the Blues. Bickell played very physical and aggressive in round one, leading all players in hits. When it seemed like the Blues were about to take a 3-1 series lead, Bickell scored a huge goal late in Game 4 to send the game to overtime.
He was a big reason the Hawks won the Stanley Cup in 2013 and they will need the same production out of him if they are going to repeat.
The Blackhawks goaltender took a lot of blame on himself for the Hawks falling behind two games to the Blues. He responded with a shutout in Game 3 and three more great games to close the series.
The Blues acquired goalie Ryan Miller at the trade deadline and they thought he was the goalie to led them to a Stanley Cup. However, Crawford stepped up for the Blackhawks and outplayed Miller.
If Crawford continues to play great hockey, goaltending could be a huge advantage for the Hawks in this series. Minnesota goalie Darcy Kuemper left Game 7 with an injury and his status for Friday’s Game 1 t is unknown