The Chicago Blackhawks are that opponent the Minnesota Wild just can't seem to shake. For the third straight year, the Blackhawks have eliminated the Wild from the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Wild fell 4-3 on Thursday night, to lose in four straight games to the Blackhawks.
A late rally by the Wild came up short. Trailing 4-1 with 2:18 to play, the Wild scored twice to cut the Blackhawks lead to one. Minnesota then went on the power play with 14.9 seconds to go, but two great chances to tie sailed just wide.
The Blackhawks were on the scoreboard first once again. Brent Seabrook netted a wrist shot to put Chicago on top 1-0. Early in the second period Andrew Shaw scored his first goal of this year's playoffs to build the lead to 2-0.
The Wild then fought back late in the second, finally beating goaltender Corey Crawford as Erik Haula netted his first goal of the playoffs. The Wild pressured to try to get back into the game, but headed into the third still trailing the Blackhawks by a goal.
Late in the third, Jason Pominville scored this power play goal to cut the lead to one.
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Then with just under 90 seconds to play Nino Niederreiter cut the lead to one.
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But it wasn't to be, as the Wild couldn't tie it up. The Blackhawks will move on to the Western Conference Finals, while the season comes to an end for the Wild.
Crawford again finished with 34 saves on the night for Chicago. The Blackhawks head into their fifth Western Conference Finals in the last seven years.
1st period: 10:23 CHI – Brent Seabrook (3) Wrist shot – Assist: Bryan Bickell (3), Johnny Oduya (2) 1-0 CHI
2nd period: 3:28 CHI – PPG Andrew Shaw (1) Wrist shot – Assist: Jonathan Toews (6), Patrick Kane (6) 2-0 CHI
2nd period: 6:41 MIN – Erik Haula (1) Wrist shot – Assist: Matt Dumba (1) 2-1 CHI
3rd period: 13:20 CHI – Kane (7) Wrist shot – Assist: Bickell (4), Niklas Hjalmarsson (3) 3-1 CHI
3rd period: 16:53 CHI – SHG - EN Marian Hossa (1) Wrist shot – Assist: Toews (7) 4-1 CHI
3rd period: 17:42 MIN – PPG – Jason Pominville (3) Slap shot – Assist: Jared Spurgeon (3), Mikko Koivu (4) 4-2 CHI
3rd period: 18:33 MIN – Nino Niederreiter (4) Wrist shot – Assist: Dumba (2), Ryan Suter (3) 4-3 CHI