The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

May 11, 2014

Wild fall to Blackhawks in Game 5

Toews' third-period goal is difference in Wild loss

CHICAGO — Jonathan Toews had a rebound goal early in the third period, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1 on Sunday night to take a 3-2 series lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

Bryan Bickell also scored and Corey Crawford made 27 saves as Chicago bounced back from consecutive losses in Minnesota that handed the momentum to the Wild heading into Game 5.

But the Blackhawks were back at the United Center, where they improved to 6-0 in this postseason and 17-2 over the past two playoffs.

Erik Haula scored in the first period for the Wild, and Ilya Bryzgalov had 26 stops.

Minnesota became the first team to score first in the second round of the NHL playoffs and lose, dropping that record to 19-1, according to STATS.

Game 6 is at 8 p.m. Tuesday night in Minnesota, where the Wild are undefeated in this postseason.

Minnesota had a chance to grab the lead in the third but Crawford made a nice kick save on Cody McCormick about 2½ minutes into the period.

He also had a solid glove stop on Ryan Suter with the Blackhawks clinging to a 2-1 lead with 4:38 to go.

Toews, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp combined to put Chicago in front 4½ minutes into the third. Hossa sent the puck in front to Toews at the right post. The captain was stopped by Bryzgalov, but he managed to slam home a backhand for his fifth of the playoffs.

Toews also had a big hit on Wild forward Mikael Granlund right before he scored the winning goal.

The first period looked similar to much of the past two games in Minnesota, with the Wild using their speed and checking ability to shut down Chicago’s high-powered attack. The Wild also outworked the defending Stanley Cup champions early on as Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville tried several line combinations looking for a spark.

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