Apr 3, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad (20) battles for the puck with Minnesota Wild center Stephane Veilleux (19) during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NHL Playoff Predictions: Minnesota vs Chicago

NHL14Bracket_rd2The (WC1) Minnesota Wild and (C3) Chicago Blackhawks will meet in the Central Region Final in this edition of the 2014 NHL Playoff Predictions.

The Chicago Blackhawks are coming off an impressive 4-2 series victory over the (C2) St. Louis Blues. The Blues jumped out to a 2-0 series lead but Chicago came back and won the next 4 to take the series. My games prediction was correct at 6 but I had the Blues winning the series. The audience voted correctly in our poll with the result coming out 54-30 in favor of Chicago

The Wild are coming off of an incredible 4-3 series victory over the (C1) Colorado Avalanche. The Wild took Game 7 with a game-winning goal from Nino Niederreiter in OT. My prediction of this series was Colorado in 5 and I clearly did not give Minnesota enough credit. Our poll of that matchup had the Avalanche with the most votes in a 60-15 landslide.

2014 Playoff Prediction Score – Note: .5 is given for correct games, .5 for correct team.

After BOS/MTL, PIT/NYR, and this series, my counter is up to 3 points out of 6.

The Wild and Blackhawks technically pulled off upsets but when Chicago plays, it’s hardly an upset. Personally, I call it more of the collapse of the Blues due to how the season ended with them.

The two teams met in the 2013 Western Conference Quarterfinals and Chicago won in 5 games en route to a Stanley Cup Championship.

Nino Niederreiter is one that is garnering a lot of attention after his OT winner to move the Wild into the Central Final. On the other end, Jonathon Toews is on a 4-game point streak and had 3 game-winning goals against the Blues.

The Wild certainly are not expected to win this series but that’s what happens when you are labeled a Cinderella team. I want to go out on a limb and say the Wild will win this series but there is too much uncertainty in net on whether Darcy Kuemper will be 100%, Josh Harding will even make an appearance, or if Ilya Bryzgalov will implode in net.

I think the Wild will try their best to make it interesting but ultimately they will falter. I’m going to continue the 6-game trend and say Chicago in 6 games.

Who Will Win the Central Region Final?

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