Blackhawks take 2-0 series lead over Wild
In a surprise twist at the end of the first round of the playoffs, the Minnesota Wild dispatched the favorites Colorado Avalanche to advance to the second round, facing the Chicago Blackhawks. Last year, the Blackhawks were the ones to end the Wild’s playoffs hopes in the first round, and this year, they’re hoping to do it again.
And after this game, they’re 2 wins away from succeeding. The Blackhawks have taken Game 2 of the series, leading the Wild 2-0 as they all head to Minnesota to play Games 3 and 4. Another strong win for the Blackhawks, ending the afternoon 4-1 up against the Wild, despite some tough spots throughout the game.
Scoring was opened by captain jonathan Toews, set up by Marian Hossa who himself almost scored a few seconds before Toews managed to put the puck past Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.
The first goal happened 11 minutes into the first period, and afterwards, it’d be a battle between the two teams, with very long stretches of uninterrupted play, and incredible defense on each side. The game would only see 3 penalties overall - 2 for Minnesota and 1 for Chicago, but during the second frame, the Wild would find their feet and their offense, making it very difficult for the Blackhawks to protect their one-goal lead.
They’d manage, and add another one, 19 minutes into the second period, a strong move from Brandon Saad, who snapped a 19-games goalless streak this afternoon.
However, early in the third, 2 minutes in, the Wild would put one past goalie Corey Crawford, a wrist shot by Cody McCormick, which would be immediately followed by an almost goal from Zach Parise, which Crawford managed to bat out of the net and over the top of the cage.
Two-goal leads have been blown a lot during this season’s playoffs already, the most recent showing of it being the Montreal Canadiens losing 5-3 against the Bruins yesterday after holding a 3-1 lead for most of the second and third periods. But despite the Wild playing with heart and drive, the Blackhawks would manage to hold onto the lead and add two more goals before the end of the third frame, one scored by Bryan Bickell, once again showing his importance during the postseason, and another by, again, Brandon Saad, his second of the afternoon, an empty-netter with 1:23 minutes remaining in the game.
The defense was stellar for both teams - the Wild managed to keep Patrick Kane contained, not allowing him a single shot on goal, while the Hawks’ D blocked 25 shots. It was an entertaining game to watch, and the next few should be more of the same, as these two teams battle for a spot in the Western Conference Final.
Next game is Tuesday, May 6th, 9.00 pm ET. It can be seen on TSN, CNBC, and RDS2.