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Blackhawks nip Wild, take 3-2 series advantage
Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Jonathan Toews registered the winning goal early in the third period and Corey Crawford stopped 27 shots, as the Chicago Blackhawks edged the Minnesota Wild, 2-1, in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals from United Center.
Bryan Bickell also scored and Patrick Sharp contributed a pair of assists for the Blackhawks, who re-established the series edge after dropping two in a row in the Twin Cities.
"The whole game, the whole series has been very tight," Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we showed more determination in the puck area tonight."
Erik Haula picked up the lone tally for the Wild, who can stay alive in Game 6 scheduled for Tuesday in St. Paul. Ilya Bryzgalov made 26 saves in defeat.
"We had a pretty good start, first period, but then I thought we got soft in our game," Wild head coach Mike Yeo said.
Chicago took a 2-1 lead with 4:33 played in the third. Marian Hossa kept control of the puck behind the Minnesota cage and drifted from the right side back to the left before dishing into the circle for Sharp. His try to the net was furthered by Hossa, then Toews fended off a Wild checker at the right post and backhanded the rebound home.
Crawford, whose unsteadiness led to a pair of Wild goals in Friday's loss in Game 4, backed up the tally by stopping all 14 Minnesota shots in the final 20 minutes.
Bryzgalov was called to the bench with 1:47 on the clock, and Crawford endured some close calls on crease rushes by the visitors before the buzzer.
Haula provided the only goal of the first period with 3:27 remaining. Skating through the middle of the ice from his own zone, he faked out a Chicago defender and flipped a shot towards Crawford. The puck rebounded into the slot, where the former Golden Gopher was allowed to tap it into the air and over the goal line.
The hosts drew even on a power play near the midway point of regulation, as Patrick Kane's offering from the right circle changed direction off Bickell in front and bled by Bryzgalov.
It was the only shot which slipped by the Russian netminder during the second period, but the Wild ended up allowing a series-high 15 shots on goal to the Blackhawks in the middle frame.
Chicago improved to 6-0 on home ice in these playoffs ... Toews' tally gave the Blackhawks their first lead since the late stages of Game 2 ... Minnesota dressed defenseman Skip Prosser in place of Keith Ballard, who departed Game 4 with an upper-body injury after being checked from behind by Blackhawks forward Brandon Bollig. Bollig sat out the first of his two-game suspension levied on Saturday.
05/12 01:30:15 ET
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