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Hossa, Bickell lead the way as Blackhawks to take 2-0 series lead to Minnesota

Recap

The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Minnesota Wild 4-1 to take a 2-0 lead in their best of seven series. The Central Division Final now heads to Minnesota for Games 3 and 4.

It was a quiet first period as the Blackhawks compiled a 7-2 edge in shots. There was only one goal as Jonathan Toews cleaned up a rebound putting it past Ilya Bryzgalov at 11:02.

The second period featured a reversal of roles similar to Game 1. Minnesota was in control as the majority of play was in the Blackhawks zone and the shots total reflected that as Minnesota had a 13-8 edge in shots. But the strong play of Corey Crawford held them off and the Blackhawks took advantage as Brandon Saad skated into the slot just as a power play expired and ripped a shot top shelf just under the crossbar past Bryzgalov at 19:04.

However, just like in Game 1, the Wild came out and continued the pressure on the Blackhawks in the third period. Clayton Stoner found Cody McCormick in front of the net and he cut the lead to one with his first goal of the playoffs two minutes into the third period. But the Blackhawks were able to survive the surge and Marian Hossa led a two on one breakaway in the closing minutes. Hossa found Bryan Bickell who ripped a wrist shot into the top right corner of the net at 17:15. In desperation, the Wild pulled the goalie and Hossa made a brilliant clearing pass. Saad chased down the puck and chipped it into the empty net at 18:37.

What it means

The Blackhawks hold serve on home ice and have now won six straight games and are 5-0 at home in the playoffs. They will have a tough test heading to Minnesota where the Wild are 3-0 in the playoffs.

3 stars of the game

3. Brandon Saad- This was the best postseason game in the young career of Saad. On the day, Saad had two goals was a plus two and blocked two shots. Saad has two goals and one assist in the series.

2. Bryan Bickell- The Blackhawks paid Bickell to perform in the playoffs and not the regular season. So far, Bickell is living up to the moniker of clutch playoff performer. Bickell had one goal, two assists and was a plus three. Bickell has three goals so far in the series.

1. Marian Hossa- After struggling against St. Louis, Hossa has been brilliant against Minnesota. Hossa had three assists today and was creating offense for everyone on the ice. Hossa has one goal and five assists in the series.