Western Conference Semifinals
Minnesota is hardly a marquee place in major professional sports, a midsized market in the middle of the country best known on the coasts for the length and extremity of its winters. In the NHL, though, there’s evidence mounting to the contrary. Thomas Vanek was the latest free agent to pick the Wild, two summers after Zach Parise and Ryan Suter jolted the league by coming as a package deal.
The Minnesota Wild have done a good job of putting the brakes on Chicago’s high-flying offense through the first three games of the Western Conference semifinals. The Wild trail 2-1 in the series, but they have not allowed the Blackhawks to get more than 22 shots on net in a game yet. Now they get tough guy Matt Cooke back to help keep the defensive pressure going.
Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw is questionable for Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday because of a lower body injury. Coach Joel Quenneville said Saturday he doesn’t expect Shaw to be out for an extended period.
The first round of the NBA Playoffs has come to a close for the Western Conference, and the teams vying to make it into the conference finals are ready for battle. Let’s take a look at the Western Conference semifinal matchups to give you insight into who we think will come out on top.