Blackhawks must also quickly prepare for second round

  • Article by: BLAKE SCHUSTER , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 2, 2014 - 12:13 AM

Chicago will stress discipline against the Wild defense.


Coach Joel Quenneville led the Blackhawks over the Blues in six games.

Photo: Nam Y. Huh • Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– Right before the Wild’s Nino Niederreiter unleashed his Game 7 winner against Colorado, Ben Smith sat on his couch, wondering if he should break out a suitcase and start packing.

Really, it’s the only thing the Chicago Blackhawks forward and his teammates were concerned with. After dispatching the St. Louis Blues in six games during the first round of the NHL playoffs, there hasn’t been much else to focus on, except whether the team would open Round 2 at home against the Wild or travel to Denver to play the Avalanche.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville even gave the team Monday and Tuesday off.

In about the same amount of time it took Niederreiter’s game-winner to fly in and out of the Colorado net, Smith went from enjoying a nice night off to preparing for a second-round matchup with the Wild, a process that hit full force at practice Thursday morning at the United Center.

“Almost everyone, if not everyone, watched the game,” Smith said. “We have a big challenge ahead of us. We saw how good they were throughout that series, but especially last night.”

The challenge for the defending Stanley Cup champions will have more to do with getting back in the postseason groove than scouting a division rival they faced in the first round of the playoffs a season ago.

“We know what the Wild are capable of,” Hawks winger Patrick Sharp said. “We watched their series quite a bit. They’ve got a little bit of everything in their lineup, so we’re not taking them lightly.”

The Wild will start the series with Ilya Bryzgalov in goal. He struggled in the first two games against Colorado and was replaced by Darcy Kuemper, who was injured Wednesday.

“It doesn’t affect my game plan or the team’s at all,” Sharp said.

In Bryzgalov’s only start against the Hawks this season for the Wild, he allowed two goals on 26 shots during a 3-2 shootout loss in April.

Forward Marian Hossa said Chicago has to match the intensity they played with during their series-clinching Game 6 against St. Louis when the second round begins Friday night. In that game, Chicago opened up the ice with some stretch passes and poured on four goals in the third period.

“They play a really strict defensive game so obviously they try to break up our offensive game,” Hossa said. “We want to make sure we just play simple in the offensive zone.”

While Patrick Kane (three goals, three assists) and Jonathan Toews (three goals, four assists) caught fire early in the first round, the rest of the team lagged behind. Sharp, the Hawks’ leading scorer in the regular season, has only one point in the playoffs.

If Chicago played Colorado, the game would be more wide open. But the Wild, like the Blues, relies on a strong forechecking game, creating offense off turnovers as well as any team in the league. For a Blackhawks offense that prefers to play fast, avoiding those traps becomes a top priority.

“Showing discipline in that regard is something we’ll talk about,” Quenneville said. “We’ve got to be patient knowing that playing the right way it might take 65 minutes some nights. I thought for the most part in our last series was a good test, knowing that’s going to be the recipe in the series.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Texas - WP: N. Martinez 7 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 2
Boston - LP: B. Workman 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 3
Toronto - LP: A. Sanchez 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 3
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Hand 2
Los Angeles - WP: P. Rodriguez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: N. Ramirez 4
Cleveland - WP: K. Crockett 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: S. Deduno 1
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Freeman 3
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 6 FINAL
Colorado - WP: L. Hawkins 7
Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 3 FINAL
San Diego - WP: R. Erlin 7
Seattle - WP: T. Wilhelmsen 3 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: K. Jepsen 1
Tampa Bay 14 FINAL
Atlanta 56
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Toronto 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM


Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29




question of the day

Poll: Will Adrian Peterson ever play for the Vikings again?

Weekly Question


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters