Mighty Blackhawks present formidable challenge for Wild

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 29, 2013 - 7:57 AM

The Blackhawks not only ran roughshod over the NHL, they also boast a huge and loud home-ice edge.

hide

Blackhawks wingers Bryan Bickell (29) and Brandon Saad celebrated after Bickell scored past Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom on March 5.

Photo: Brian Kersey, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Drowned out by the thunderous music of a victorious locker room in Denver, Ryan Suter had to yell to be heard after the Wild beat Colorado to secure the NHL’s final playoff spot Saturday night.

There was a certain irony to it.

Suter was trying at least to talk about the Madhouse on Madison and how absolutely raucous it will be when more than 21,000 rabid fans overstuff United Center to watch the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Wild in the first round of the playoffs beginning Tuesday night.

The atmosphere will be like nothing many Wild players have experienced.

There’s the fantastic game ops, the sweet tunes of the coolest organist on the planet, Frank Pellico, and the booming pipes of Jim Cornelison, who causes the building to shake with his goose bump-triggering rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

As if the Wild doesn’t have enough on its hands with the mighty Blackhawks, the decibel meter alone might burst some eardrums.

“The building, it’s so loud,” said Suter, the only Wild defenseman besides seldom-used Brett Clark with postseason experience. “I’ve played in the playoffs in Chicago before. I mean, the anthem, the crowd. It’s nuts to say the least.”

As Wild coach Mike Yeo and his staff spent Sunday sequestered inside Xcel Energy Center preparing for the arduous task of upsetting the Blackhawks, Wild players got the day off to bask in the satisfaction of making the playoffs and rest up for Monday’s practice.

The Wild stumbled down the stretch, and Friday’s home loss to Edmonton proved especially costly when San Jose wound up losing to Los Angeles on Saturday night. That meant if the Wild had simply beaten the Oilers, the Wild would have gotten the sixth seed and faced the Vancouver Canucks.

Instead, the Wild drew eighth and now faces this challenge: Somehow find a way to win four times in seven games against a Stanley Cup favorite that lost only seven times in regulation. In the past 15 meetings, the Wild has defeated Chicago five times — once in regulation.

“I do think that we shift to a bit of an underdog role,” coach Mike Yeo said in the understatement of the century. “As far as we’re concerned, we believe that we’re capable.”

The Blackhawks, who ran away with the West, led the conference by scoring 3.1 goals per game. They surrendered a league-low 2.02 goals per game. When they scored first, they were nearing unbeatable, going a league-best 26-2-1 (.897).

They were equally good home and away, going 18-3-3 at home and 18-4-2 on the road.

“They have a great team,” Suter said. “They have a lot of skilled players. They have four solid lines, defense is solid, goaltending is solid. It’ll be a challenge, but in the playoffs, anything can happen.”

The Blackhawks went the first half of the 48-game season without a regulation loss. The Wild, 1-2 against the Blackhawks, was the first team to hand them a blemish — a shootout loss in their seventh game.

Zach Parise, who led the Wild with 18 goals and 38 points, believes the Wild gave the Blackhawks a good game in a 1-0 loss April 9.

“They’re a puck possession team,” Parise said. “They don’t give you a lot of chances, so we’ll have to make sure we’re smart without the puck because they have a lot of guys that can put the puck in the net.”

Parise said because the Blackhawks have so many weapons, such as Western Conference scoring leader Patrick Kane, captain Jonathan Toews, two-way star Marian Hossa, sharpshooter Patrick Sharp and Calder Trophy contender Brandon Saad, they don’t get enough credit for their defensive play.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland 2 Bottom 2nd Inning
Kansas City 1
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 3 3rd Prd
Boston 1
NY Rangers 1 3rd Prd
Philadelphia 3
Ottawa 0 2nd Prd
Winnipeg 1
Carolina 0 2nd Prd
St. Louis 0
Tampa Bay 1 1st Prd 13:34
Dallas 0
Colorado 8:00 PM
Calgary
Los Angeles 9:30 PM
San Jose
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close