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GAMEDAY: Game 1 Wild at Chicago

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:50 AM

Mike Doyle - Managing Editor

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GAMEDAY: Game 1 Wild at Chicago
Minnesota Wild vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Minnesota Wild (No. 7 seed in Western Conference) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (No. 5 seed in Western Conference)

The Minnesota Wild didn’t have much time to enjoy its Game 7 win in the First Round against the Colorado Avalanche. Such is life in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Two days after pulling the Round 1 upset, Minnesota looks to knock off another favorite, the defending Stanley Cup champion, Chicago Blackhawks. Of course in doing so, the Wild would avenge last season’s early exit at the hands of the Hawks. Chicago took last year’s First Round series in a quick five games.

Tonight, goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov will start in net for the Wild. Netminder Darcy Kuemper was injured in Game 7 against the Avs and will not be available for tonight’s contest, and there is no update on his status at this time. Bryzgalov came in relief of Kuemper in Game 7 to earn the win.

This is a much different Wild team from last year’s Round 1 exit. Minnesota won the regular-season series 3-1-1 against the Blackhawks, and was led by Jason Pominville and Mikael Granlund. Last season, Pominville missed the first three games of the series with an injury and wasn’t much of a factor coming back for the final two. This season, he led the Wild in scoring against the Hawks with five points (4-1=5). Granlund was recalled as a member of the Black Aces, minor league players who practice during the playoffs to gain experience. What a difference a year makes as he found chemistry with Pominville against Chicago this season with four assists.

Coming into tonight’s contest, Zach Parise is tied for the NHL lead with 10 points (3-7=10) in the postseason. The Wild forward set a career high for most points in a single series. Parise garnered a playoff career high and a Wild playoff single-game record with four points (2-2=4) in Game 6 vs. Colorado — the most by an NHL player in a playoff elimination game since the Hawks’ Duncan Keith in 2011, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

On Wednesday, the Wild won a thrilling Game 7 in overtime, 5-4, against the Avs to advance to the Second Round. Four times the Wild was down a goal and, like the team has done all season, responded to even the game, and eventually advanced thanks to Nino Niederreiter’s OT winner. The winner was Niederreiter’s second of the game. Jared Spurgeon scored with 2:27 left in the third period to send the game into overtime. Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley also scored for the Wild. Bryzgalov and Kuemper combined for 18 saves for the win. 
If You're Going
In another “upset” between Central Division foes, Chicago, third in the Central, eliminated the second-place St. Louis Blues in six games.

Captain Jonathan Toews did not practice Thursday at United Center because he was sick, but coach Joel Quenneville said he'd be "more than fine" to play in Game 1. Toews has a four-game point streak and has scored a goal in three of the past four, including the final two against the Blues. All three of his goals against St. Louis were game-winners.
You’ll want to find your seats well before Jim Cornelison fires up the National Anthem. The United Center, dubbed the Mad House on Madison, is a rollicking place, and it doubles during the Anthem. Trust us, you’ll want to experience it.

The Wild will wear its WHITE sweaters tonight.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Dany Heatley leads Minnesota in plus/minus (plus-5) after earning a playoff career-best plus-3 rating, and tying his career high with three points in Game 7 (1-2=3), including an assist on the winning goal. He leads the Wild with 62 career playoff points (16-46=62) in 71 playoff games.

Fans can guess who's going to be hot with the Wild's HotBox Fantasy Challenge for a chance to win great prizes.

Wild.com
Game Notes | Transactions | Injury Report | Lighthouse | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwild
WildTV
Morning Skate Update | Yeo | Pominville | Coyle | Niederreiter |
PONDcast
Yeo
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
Here’s what the Game 7 lineup looked like:

Moulson-Koivu-Coyle
Parise-Granlund-Pominville
Niederreiter-Brodziak-Heatley
McCormick- Haula-Veilleux

Don’t expect any changes on the blue line:
Suter- Brodin

Spurgeon-Scandella

Prosser-Stoner
Bryzgalov is 8-6-5 with a 2.51 GAA, a .915 SV% and one shutout in 21 games (19 starts).
View From The Press Box
One thing that we have to guard against is just the high of last game and just making sure we don't have a drop in focus and battle and will that we have to bring to the game.

- Yeo in the Star Tribune about not getting too high after the Game 7 win



If the lineup doesn’t change scratches tonight will be: Jonathon Blum, Justin Fontaine and Mike Rupp. Matt Cooke is out through Game 3 with a suspension. Defenseman Keith Ballard has a lower-body injury.

Forward Jason Zucker (surgery) and goaltender Josh Harding (illness) are on Injured Reserve. Niklas Backstrom is shutdown for the remainder of the season.
Honorary State of Hockey Resident Worthless Stat
D Nick Leddy is a native of Eden Prairie. Minnesota enters Game 1 with an all-time record of 1-6 (including five OT losses) in the first contest of a series. Minnesota hasn’t earned a Game 1 victory since its first-ever playoff game, a 4-2 win in Denver, April 10, 2003.


Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild at Chicago will be nationally in high definition on NBC Sports Network with a start time at 8:30 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com. Get updates with the Wild’s official team app, here.              
Wild.com
Wild Entering Unfamiliar Territory Against Chicago | Five Reasons The Wild Advanced | X-Factor: Physical Coyle A Difference-maker | Tale Of The Tape | Stand And Defend | Creatures Of Habit | Game 7 Five Takeaways at COL | Game 7 5-Hole at COL |
WildTV
Game 7 Celebration
PONDcast
  Game 7: Wild 5, COL 4 (OT)
Photo Gallery
Game 7: Wild vs COL | Hugs: Playoffs Edition
series schedule/results
DateScoreW. Goal
May 13 '14 CHI 2 at MIN 1 - OT P. Kane
May 11 '14 MIN 1 at CHI 2 J. Toews
May 09 '14 CHI 2 at MIN 4 N. Niederreiter
May 06 '14 CHI 0 at MIN 4 E. Haula
May 04 '14 MIN 1 at CHI 4 B. Saad
May 02 '14 MIN 2 at CHI 5 P. Kane
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
Z. Parise83811+0611
K. Brodziak7336+0200
J. Pominville8156-1000
M. Koivu8156-2800
D. Heatley6156+6200
C. Coyle8325-2611
M. Granlund8235+4201
N. Niederreiter8224-1601
R. Suter8134-3410
M. Scandella8213+0000
J. Spurgeon8213+0000
E. Haula8123-2000
M. Moulson8112+0400
J. Brodin8022+11000
C. Stoner8101+32000
M. Cooke3011-1600
N. Prosser8000+31200
C. McCormick8000+11400
S. Veilleux4000+1400
J. Fontaine4000-2000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
D. Kuemper63-1111272.03.913
I. Bryzgalov41-312674.16.821
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
P. Kane7538+8802
J. Toews7358+5413
B. Seabrook4268+41510
D. Keith7257+6600
B. Bickell7415+1610
M. Hossa7235-2610
B. Saad7055+4200
A. Shaw7224+0810
B. Smith7123+5000
M. Rozsival7123+3200
P. Sharp7123+3400
J. Oduya7123+2200
M. Kruger7112+3600
N. Leddy7022-1200
K. Versteeg5022+0400
S. Brookbank3022+2000
M. Handzus7011-3200
N. Hjalmarsson7011-4000
B. Bollig7000-31200
J. Nordstrom2000-2000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
C. Crawford75-2162471.98.935
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