Minnesota Wild Lose Vital Game Three To The Chicago Blackhawks


The Minnesota Wild threw just about everything they had at the Chicago Blackhawks down a goal in the third, but couldn’t find twine, falling behind three games to none in the second-round series.

Chicago hadn’t lost a game in which they led after two periods all season, and kept that streak going Tuesday night in St. Paul.

The Blackhawks haven’t blown a 3-0 series lead in their post-season history, and don’t look like they’re on the verge of ruining that streak either – though you probably wouldn’t look it while you’re up three games to none.

The sublimely-skilled Patrick Kane scored the only marker of the game 14:06 into the first period – on a power play snap shot off the rush that squeaked through Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk’s wickets. Kane was coming in at full speed down the left wing and received a one-touch pass from Andrew Shaw before picking his spot. Patrick Sharp had the secondary assist on Kane’s sixth tally of the playoffs. The quick release was reminiscent of his blocker-side goal against Dubnyk in the last game – Dubnyk never quite got set against the streaking Buffalo native.

The Wild have to be ever vigilant of where Kane is on the ice if they want to make any noise this series. Of course that’s difficult when the opposition also features names such as Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Sharp, and Brandon Saad in their lineup.

The goal came on Chicago’s only power play. Minnesota was unable to convert on all three of its opportunities, while only recording three shots over those chances. Minnesota did manage 30 shots on goal throughout the game to Chicago’s 22, and had 65 shot attempts to 41 for the Hawks.

Corey Crawford seems comfortable manning the blue paint again for Chicago, after Scott Darling appeared in five games during the first round, winning three contests.

Wild winger Chris Stewart missed the game after going hard into the boards last contest. But his absence did open up room for Jason Zucker to slide back up to the second line, alongside captain Mikko Koivu and Nino Niederreiter. And the line was buzzing, recording six shots on goal and creating good scoring chances. But no chance was better for Minnesota than Mikael Granlund’s breakaway midway through the second period. After a nice pass from Zach Parise, he got in alone but Crawford turned aside his blocker-side snap shot.

The Blackhawks block shots extremely well. They were constantly getting in shooting lanes all game, blocking nine shots from Minnesota defensemen. The Wild blueliners missed the net on eight occasions, and while it’s nice to hit the net when there’s a lane, perhaps it’d be prudent to take a leaf out of Detroit Red Wings great Niklas Lidstrom’s book and shoot it wide for a carom off the end boards when Brent Seabrook is lining up to make one of his four blocks of the game. It would also play well into Minnesota’s speed game which was at its best down low below the goal line all night.

Game Four of the best-of-seven series is an 8:30 CST start Thursday night in Minnesota. The Wild will have to play a full game with the desperation they exhibited during much of Game Three if they don’t want to take to the golf course by the third round for the eleventh consecutive season.