Chicago Blackhawks vs Minnesota Wild Prediction (1/8/15)
Bad news from the Minnestoa Wild as Zach Parise’s father has passed away. Not going to get into much detail as it’s none of my business but it’s uncertain if Parise will play tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks. Which is a huge loss for the Minnesota Wild. But that doesn’t mean the team won’t rally around Parise and seek a victory tonight.
This season has not favored the Wild and with big offseason acquisitions of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, Minnesota’s quickly learning that two players can’t change an NHL team around. At least not in this era of the game. Maybe if it was 15 years ago two players could, but not today. Minnesota are missing key players and it’s all part of the building/learning process. Sure it’s easy to blame the coaches since these players are locked up in contracts that are not moveable but I don’t think it’s a coaching issue.
Minnesota (18-15-5) has managed 26 goals during a 2-4-4 slump. The Wild suffered a 7-1 loss at Dallas on Saturday before falling 4-3 in overtime to San Jose on Tuesday, their fourth OT defeat – all coming in the past nine contests – and fifth loss overall in six home games.
To make matters worse goaltending has also been an issue – inconsistency. Niklas Backstrom will start in between the pipes tonight but he has allowed three goals on 14 shots after replacing Darcy Kuemper in the Wild’s 7-1 blowout loss to the Stars last Saturday. Backstrom has not won a game since December 13th—he has posted a 4.06 GAA and .879 SV% in three and a half games in that span.
Chicago tries to continue its recent success with a visit to the Wild as these Central Division opponents. But it also hasn’t been too peachy for the Wild over the past 2.5 weeks.
The Blackhawks (26-12-2) were riding high after winning eight straight and 10 of 11, but things haven’t gone as smoothly during a 4-3-1 stretch. Chicago leads the league with a 2.15 goals-against average but has surrendered 20 goals over its last six games. 4-3-1 isn’t a horrible stretch of game record also isn’t a concern for this Hawks team. This team is by far the best NHL I have ever seen in my lifetime and they know how to rebound and get back on track.
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