The Minnesota Wild hope to maintain home-ice advantage and even up their Western Conference semifinal series with the Chicago Blackhawks in Friday night’s Game Four at Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild surrendered nine goals in the first two games and barely scored three of their own to fall behind 0-2 to current Stanley Cup holder Chicago, but look to build off the momentum gained in their 4-0 shutout victory in Game Three.
The series is now at 2-1 largely due to a third period scoring barrage by the Wild in Game Three, with center Mikael Granlund registering two goals and Zach Parise scoring his fourth goal of the postseason, and Jason Pominville assisting on two goals.
Minnesota head coach Mike Yeo stood behind veteran goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov after he gave up those nine goals in the first two games, and Bryzgalov responded in kind with 19 saves and his first shutout of the playoffs.
Unfortunately for the Blackhawks they saw three different streaks end while Minnesota climbed back into the series. Goalie Corey Crawford saw his six-game win streak snapped after he gave up four goals, which was more than the previous two games combined.
Meanwhile Chicago’s attack was also blanked for the first time in these playoffs as point leaders Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews failed to get on the board. The center Toews had notched at least one point in every game this postseason except for Game Two against St. Louis and defenseman Seabrook was completely shutout for the first time in his six post season starts.
Both teams will miss key contributors in Game Four, with Wild left wing Matt Moulson and Chicago center Andrew Shaw ruled out with lower body injuries. It’s the second straight game on the bench for Shaw, while Moulson will miss his first game of the postseason.
Start Time: 9:30 p.m. EST
TV Channel: NBC Sports Network
Live Online Stream Details: A live online stream is available at NBC Live Extra here.
Prediction: Chicago over Minnesota, 3-2