Ask anyone on the Blackhawks if they planned to watch Wednesday night's game between Colorado and Minnesota, and man they were all in, including Bryan Bickell, who planned on having a viewing party from his couch with his two dogs at his side.
Those players who did watch caught a Wild one. Minnesota's Nino Niederreiter scored his second goal of the game 5:02 into overtime and Ilya Bryzgalov made a big save filling in for an injured Darcy Kuemper, leading the Wild to a 5-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 7 on Wednesday night.
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The Wild will play the Hawks at 8:30 Friday night at the UC. Game 2 will be at the UC at 2 p.m. Sunday. Game 3 will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Minnesota. Game 4 will be Friday in Minnesota, and Games 5-7 are TBD.
Of course, ask the Hawks which team they were rooting for, and suddenly their lips were sealed.
"No preferences here," coach Joel Quenneville said.
"I'm not going to comment on that," goalie Corey Crawford said.
"Just let it play out and we're going to get what we're going to get," Michal Handzus said.
Ok, then, how about contrasting the two teams?
"One's very defensive (Minnesota) and one's good on the transition game (Colorado)," Andrew Shaw said.
"Colorado is great offensively -- they have a lot of skill guys, a lot of speed," Handzus said. "Minnesota has more of a team game; they play with more structure and more defensively."
"Well, it's going to be intense," Quenneville said. "With Minnesota there's not a lot of room. Colorado has a great attack.
"It's more how we play that we focus on. You make some adjustments to what opponents are doing, but it's reinforcing how we play on a daily basis."
On more than one occasion during the St. Louis series, Hawks captain Jonathan Toews gushed about the leadership shown by goalie Corey Crawford for shouldering much of the blame for the Hawks' losses in their first two games -- even though his teammates didn't think that was necessary.
"He's been everything we've needed him to be and more," Ben Smith said.
"He was incredible," Kris Versteeg added. "He was a little too hard on himself in Games 1 and 2, I thought."
But just because he stood up and took the blame, it doesn't mean Crawford's vying for more of a leadership role on the team.
"There are leaders in here. I don't really need to step up and be one of those guys," he said. "We have guys who know how to do that."
He said it:
"Always something with shift lengths; have to go shorter. Need better changes, matchups can be trickier -- different challenges as you go along."
-- Joel Quenneville on adjustments needed when playing in the altitude of Denver.