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Blackhawks Move On With Rout Of Wild

By Chuck Sudo in News on May 10, 2013 2:45PM

Blackhawks 5, Minnesota 1

That's how a hockey team should close out a series — no nonsense and with authority. The Hawks came out hot and took a 1-0 lead on a Marian Hossa snap shot with less than five minutes left in the first period.

In the second period the Hawks poured it on. Marcus Kruger scored a beautiful wrap-around goal on Minnesota's Josh Harding three minutes in. Hossa followed with his second goal of the night at the 6:26 mark. After Torrey Mitchell put the Wild on the board with a slap shot past Corey Crawford, it seemed as though the momentum would shift. But Andrew Shaw snatched it back for the Blackhawks 25 seconds later with a slap shot of his own. Patrick Sharp closed out the scoring with a third period power play goal, his fifth goal of the postseason.

The Hawks can now sit back and hope the series between Detroit and Anaheim goes seven games. (Anaheim holds a 3-2 lead with game six at Joe Louis Arena tonight.) If Detroit wins, they face Chicago in the second round. If Anaheim wins, the Hawks draw San Jose. Either team would wind up facing a tough challenge in the Blackhawks, who managed to dispatch of Minnesota with ease despite their top line not playing up to par before last night. Wild coach Mike Yeo said before Game 5:

‘‘If you would have told us through four games that Jonathan Toews wouldn’t have a point, we probably would have signed up for that pretty quickly."

Toews tallied two assists in the game and his line played superbly on both sides of the ice. But the MVP of the series was Corey Crawford. Crawford posted a .952 save percentage and only allowed seven goals in the series, number more impressive considering how much time he spends with his knees on the ice and a wide half net behind him. But the same fans who booed Crawford last season were chanting his name Thursday night.

“It felt good to have our crowd behind me, obviously. They’ve been great throughout the year, and just to hear that, obviously it was nice. It was fun.”

The Hawks now await their next opponent, depending on the outcome of the Anaheim-Detroit series. The Ducks, who defeated the Hawks in all three of their regular season meetings, hold a 3-2 lead. If they close out the series tonight at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena, the Blackhawks draw the San Jose Sharks and Vezina Trophy finalist (and former Blackhawk) Annti Niemi. If the Red Wings win the series, they travel to Chicago.