Our Q-and-A series with Blackhawks broadcaster and former player Troy Murray continues.
Q: Most people think the Blackhawks boast more talent than the Wild. If so, why has the Wild been such a difficult opponent?
A: I guess you would say overall, on paper, the Blackhawks have a better team, but the game's not played on paper. It's played on ice. (The Wild) have two world-class players and some great young players. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are two of the best players in the world. You've got a kid named Mikael Granlund who was on the all-tournament team in the Olympics (helping Finland win the bronze medal), and he's only 22 years of age. They've got a lot of depth, and they're competing. They have a great coach (Mike Yeo), and he's done an excellent job of having all the players buy into a system that works extremely well for what they have, and they work extremely hard. It's a very difficult team to play against."
Q: The Blackhawks were outshot 8-6 and trailed 1-0 after the first period in Game 5 at the United Center. They then outshot the Wild 15-6 in the second period and ended up winning the game 2-1. What was better for the Blackhawks after the first period?
A: For whatever reason, their tempo and pace of the game picked up to a higher level and they found some skating room. For the first time, they really dominated Minnesota for a lengthy time during that second period. Everyone expected the Blackhawks to play that way more consistently in this series. Minnesota said there was a stretch in the second period where they didn't feel that they played well. When Minnesota plays well, Chicago thinks they didn't play well. When Chicago plays well, Minnesota doesn't think they played well. That's just the way it works. There are ebbs and flows. You find ways to win hockey games. That was a very close hockey game.
Q: Peter Regin got a chance to play on the Blackhawks' fourth line in Game 5, and the center acquitted himself well in his first playoff appearance this season. He drew a penalty that led to Bryan Bickell's game-tying, power-play goal and was voted the game's No. 3 star. What does Regin bring to the Blackhawks?
A: I thought Peter brought a lot of energy, a lot of speed to the lineup. He's not a young guy (28). He's played in only seven playoff games in his career, but he's got 3 goals and 4 points (in 6 games with Ottawa in 2010) to show for it. So there is some experience there. He's got some real high-end skill, as well. Joel Quenneville was looking for some consistency, and Peter Regin coming in gave them a little bit more balance down the middle of the ice. I thought he did an excellent job of doing exactly what he needed to do.
Q: Minnesota is 5-0 on home ice in the playoffs. What do the Blackhawks have to do to avoid a repeat of Games 3 and 4 at the Xcel Energy Center, where they lost 4-0 and 4-2, respectively?
A: They have to compete. If you listen to the comments of Jonathan Toews and the players in the locker room, they got outworked in those two games, and Minnesota certainly was the better team on the ice. (The Blackhawks) have to have a better compete level. I thought Chicago was much better in that area at the United Center, and I think (the players) have a good understanding of how hard Minnesota works and how hard it's going to be for them to win (Game 6). If they don't come and compete and work, Minnesota will dominate. For Minnesota, it's a must-win situation, so you expect that they're going to play their hardest game of the series.