Net wars: Could the Wild-Blackhawks series be determined by goaltending?


We may not know when the NHL Western Conference semifinal series will begin for the Minnesota Wild and the Chicago Blackhawks, but we do know the goaltending matchup will feature prominently in this series.

That matchup will pit Minnesota's Vezina Trophy finalist Devan Dubnyk against the Wild's playoff nemesis, Corey Crawford of the Blackhawks.

According to ESPN, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville answered questions about who would start in net against the Wild when he made the announcement on Monday.

Crawford started games 1 and 2 against Nashville, but struggled as he went 1-1 with a 4.19 goals against average and a .850 save percentage. Quenneville then turned to rookie Scott Darling in games 3-6 – snapping Crawford's streak of starting 57 consecutive playoff games.

But he replaced Darling in game 6, and the Blackhawks came back to win, plus Crawford has had success against Minnesota in each of their last two post season series.

For Minnesota, Dubnyk showed his toughness, responding from an awful game 4, when he allowed six goals to St. Louis, only to stop a combined 66 shots in games 5 and 6 to help the Wild clinch the series.

Dubnyk's game 6 performance included several tough, but important stops.

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Then there was Dubnyk's nearly top-play worthy stop against Alexander Steen in game 5.

Playoff hockey often comes down to goaltending, and the Wild-Blackhawks' series should be no exception – whenever it starts.

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