Hawks shut out Wild, take 3-1 series lead
After the Chicago Blackhawks failed to a get a 3-0 series lead on Sunday after a loss in overtimes, they returned to action Tuesday looking to take Game 4 from the Minnesota Wild. With a victory Tuesday night, the Hawks would have a chance to close out the series Thursday night in Chicago.
Despite 12 penalty minutes, including four in the first five minutes of the third period, the Hawks battled strong and were able to shut out the Wild to take a 3-1 stranglehold on the Wild.
Feeding of the energy of an overtime win on Sunday, the Wild came out fast and got the crowd into the game early. Just 1:06 into the game, Michal Handzus took an interference penalty to put the Wild on the power play. But the Hawks’ penalty kill was up to the challenge, as they were the entire game and gave the team some momentum.
The Hawks big guns were able to take advantage of some momentum and started to scoring 8:48 into the first period. After a great pass from Marian Hossa, Handzus fired a shot on net that Patrick Sharp deflected past Josh Harding. It was a big goal for the Hawks to settle them down and quiet the crowd.
Later in the first, Jonathan Toews made a strong drive to the net and went crashing into Harding, who was injured on the play. Harding would remain in for the remainder of the first period but would not be able to return for the final two periods. Darcy Kuemper, the Wild’s third goalie came in for the rest of the game.
The Hawks took advantage of Kuemper, who had only played in six NHL games previously. Just over a minute into the second period, Sharp fired a shot on net and snuck in past Kuemper for his second goal of the game and fourth of the series.
But the Hawks made it difficult on themselves with two more penalties in the second and two early penalties in the third. But as they have been all year, the penalty killers were great as they had sticks and bodies in shooting lanes as night, making it difficult for Minnesota to get quality shots on net.
Corey Crawford continued his strong start to the playoffs as he registered his second career playoff shut out, stoping all 25 shots he faced.
Bryan Bickell added a late goal for the Hawks to give the Hawks a 3-0 victory and a 3-1 series lead as they return to the United Center for Game 5 on Thursday night. Puck drop is set for 8:30P.M.