Bigger. Faster. Stronger: Hawks end Wild's season in 5 games


All the hope and faith in the State of Hockey wasn't nearly enough to boost the Wild over the high-powered Blackhawks in a best-of-seven playoff series.

Chicago sent the Wild home for the season with a dominating 5-1 victory Thursday night, clinching the series four games to one.

The Wild controlled the pace of the game until Kyle Brodziak lost track of Marian Hossa, who took a pass just inside the left circle and ripped a shot past Josh Harding for a 1-0 lead at 15:39 of the first period.

At 3:19 of the second period, Harding gave up a soft goal on a wrap-around shot by Marcus Kruger.

Head coach Mike Yeo said that was the goal that "kind of did us in."

Harding's night would end a little over three minutes later when he gave up a rebound that Hossa punched in for his second goal of the game and a 3-0 Chicago lead. He was pulled and replaced by Darcy Kuemper.

A goal from Torrey Mitchell at 10:11 of the second cut the Hawks lead to two, but 35 seconds later Andrew Shaw beat Kuemper for a goal on a puck that deflected off the end boards for a 4-1 lead.

Chicago would add to the series-clinching drubbing with a 5-on-3 power play goal in the third -- scored by Patrick Sharp, who led all players in the series with five goals.

The Wild's top line and power play unit once again failed to click. Zach Parise finished the series with an ugly minus-7 rating. As a team, the Wild was 0-17 on the power play (0-2 in Game 5).

"We have to get better, there's no question," head coach Mike Yeo said after the game. "No matter what, there was a lot of progress. We've changed the culture. We have improved a lot of areas of our game."

"We aren't happy the way it ended, there's no question, but we'll be better with this experience going forward."

All eyes now turn to the offseason, where the Wild has plenty of questions to answer.

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