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(Tuesday, May 7th)
Final Score: Chicago 3, Minnesota 0
St. Paul, MN (Sports Network) - Patrick Sharp scored twice, Corey Crawford made 25 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks handled the Minnesota Wild, 3-0, in Game 4 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
Bryan Bickell also lit the lamp for the Blackhawks, who took a 3-1 series lead to set up a potential series-clinching contest on Thursday in Chicago.
Crawford had three shutouts in the regular season for Chicago, which hasn't made it past the first round since winning the Stanley Cup in 2010. It was the second career playoff shutout for Crawford.
"Our (penalty kill) definitely won us the game tonight," Crawford said. "We blocked a lot of shots and cleared pucks when we needed to. It was definitely a big effort and a good job by all of our guys on the kill."
Minnesota goaltender Josh Harding stopped five of six shots before leaving at the end of the first period with a lower-body injury. Rookie netminder Darcy Kuemper turned aside 16-of-18 shots in relief.
The Wild, who failed to build off Sunday's 3-2 overtime win, went 0-for-6 on the power play.
"It probably wasn't the greatest of nights. But I'll say this: If you know them the way that I do, you'd be really excited to watch them play the next game," Wild coach Mike Yeo said.
The Blackhawks scored the only goal they would need at the 8:48 mark of the first period. Michal Handzus' shot from the top of the right circle was deflected in by Sharp.
Harding appeared to hurt his left leg late in the opening period while sprawling out to make a save on Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews. Toews landed awkwardly on the goaltender's left leg. Harding played out the rest of the frame before exiting the game.
Sharp scored again at the 1:02 mark of the middle stanza. His shot from the top of the left circle got past Kuemper.
Bickell lit the lamp from a tough angle at the 12:46 mark of the third period. Crawford made 12 saves in the final stanza to seal the victory.
Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith played after he and his wife had their first child early Tuesday morning ... Chicago was again without injured goalie Ray Emery and center Dave Bolland ... Wild forward Jason Pominville returned to the lineup after missing the previous five games dating back to the regular season with an upper-body injury ... The Wild continue to play without goaltender Niklas Backstrom, who suffered a lower-body injury during warmups prior to Game 1 ... Although the Blackhawks and Minnesota North Stars faced off six times in the playoffs over a 10-year stretch from 1982-91, this is the first postseason encounter between Chicago and the Wild.
05/08 01:51:13 ET