Wild Tame Streaking Blackhawks
By Chuck Sudo in News on May 7, 2014 1:30PM
Defending home ice has been crucial to the Minnesota Wild's success in the Stanley Cup playoffs. They won all three games in their opening round series against the Colorado Avalanche to advance to the second round and served notice to the Blackhawks they aren't dead yet with a convincing 4-0 win at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul Tuesday night. The loss snapped a six-game win streak for the Hawks.
As was the case in Games 1 and 2, the Blackhawks and Wild played an evenly matched first two periods. But it was Minnesota that broke out in the game's final 20 minutes when Erik Haula tipped in a shot 1:41 into the period.
The Wild next scored when Mikhail Granlund took a pass from Jason Pominville and buried a backhand shot past Corey Crawford for a 2-0 lead 4:18 into the period.
The Wild made the score 3-0 when Zach Parise found net on a wrist shot for a power play goal. Minnesota ended the scoring with an empty netter by Granlund.
The Wild took advantage of an unusually lethargic and unfocused Blackhawks squad that never seemed to get into any sense of rhythm on either side of the ice Tuesday. Chicago only placed 19 shots against Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov while defensive lapses, along with crisp passing by the Wild, made Crawford vulnerable in that third period explosion.
Coach Joel Quenneville and his staff have a couple days to recover and plan ahead for Game 4 Friday.