Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 05/07/14 at 09:23 AM ET
Based upon the Twitter reactions of those who were watching the Minnesota Wild defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 on Tuesday night (climbing back into a series they trail 2 games to 1), the fact that the Wild nursed a 0-0 tie into the third period and happened to pounce on the Blackhawks seemed eerily reminiscent of the kinds of efforts Jacques Lemaire's trap-tastic, "lull 'em to sleep" machines of the mid-"naughties."
Not surprisingly, ESPN's Scott Burnside reports that the Wild do indeed believe that dilligent checking's the only way to stifle the Blackhawks' offensive machine:
After meandering their way through more than two periods of some of the most lackluster hockey produced by any two teams anywhere this spring, the Wild struck for two picture-perfect goals in a span of 2 minutes, 37 seconds early in the third period to break open a scoreless game and go on to a 4-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
"We know it's going to be a really checking game. You don't have a lot of room there, you don't have a lot of time to skate with the puck. Both teams are in their face all the time. Sometimes the games are like that and you need to find a way to get a win. Tonight we were able to do that," offered Mikael Granlund, who scored the Wild's second goal and added an empty-netter to round out the scoring.
The victory, regardless of its pedigree, was significant on a number of fronts.
First, it allowed the Wild to narrow the Blackhawks' lead in this Western Conference semifinal series to 2-1. It was, not to overstate the obvious, a victory the Wild absolutely had to have.
It also marked the team's fourth straight home victory in this playoff season, which is critical given they are 1-5 on the road.
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