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

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota - LP: J. Burton 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 3
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2
Miami - WP: J. Cosart 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Boston - LP: A. Webster 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 7
Cleveland - WP: J. Tomlin 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: S. Downs 2
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Bassitt 4
Texas - LP: P. Klein 0 FINAL
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 2
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: V. Nuno 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wada 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Gonzales 13
Los Angeles 1 Bottom 10th Inning
San Diego 1
Milwaukee 0 Top 9th Inning
San Francisco 3
Oakland 0 Top 9th Inning
LA Angels 2
Washington 3 Bottom 9th Inning
Seattle 1
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 FINAL
Texas 38
(1) Florida State 37 FINAL
Oklahoma State 31
(14) Wisconsin 24 3rd Qtr 0:06
(13) LSU 13
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 6 2nd Qtr 6:08
(3) Oregon 28
(25) Washington 17 2nd Qtr 1:24
Hawaii 10
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
FC Dallas 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 1 2nd Half 35:00
San Jose 1
Portland 1 2nd Half 35:00
Vancouver FC 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 70 FINAL
Indiana 77
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