game 5 preview
Wild at Chicago • 8 p.m. • United Center • CNBC, 100.3-FM
Preview: The Wild, 5-0 at home in the playoffs, heads to Chicago, where the Blackhawks are also 5-0 at home. The Wild, which has outscored opponents 16-5 at home, is 1-5 on the road and has been outscored 26-17. The Blackhawks have outscored opponents 20-7 at home. With the series tied 2-2, this is the swing game, although the Wild lost Game 5 at Colorado tied 2-2 and still rallied to win the first-round series.
Players to watch: Before Saturday’s playoff games, Wild LW Zach Parise was second in the NHL with 10 assists and 14 points. RW Jason Pominville is second on the team with nine points in 11 games. LW Nino Niederreiter has two game-winning goals in the past five games and six points this postseason. G Ilya Bryzgalov has allowed two goals in the past two games after allowing seven in Games 1 and 2. Blackhawks RW Marian Hossa leads all players with eight points in the series. Hossa ranks third among active NHLers with 123 points in 162 Stanley Cup playoff games. Since 2009, RW Patrick Sharp has scored 34 goals in the playoffs, tied for most in the NHL. G Corey Crawford, who had allowed 10 goals to the Wild in seven playoff games over two seasons through Game 2, has allowed seven in the past two games.
Numbers: The Wild, which has allowed a league-low 23.4 shots per game, has allowed 22 or fewer shots in all four games of the series. Chicago has been held to 22 or fewer shots eight times in 85 playoff games since 2003. … The Wild leads the NHL with 16 different goal scorers in the playoffs. … The Blackhawks are 6-0 when scoring first this postseason. … Since 2009, the Blackhawks are 30-10 in playoff series after Game 3 — including a 13-2 mark over the past two seasons.
Injuries: Wild LW Matt Moulson (lower body), D Keith Ballard (upper body), G Darcy Kuemper (upper body), G Niklas Backstrom (abdominal surgery) and LW Jason Zucker (quadriceps) are out. G Josh Harding (multiple sclerosis) is doubtful. Blackhawks F Andrew Shaw (lower body) is out.