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Minnesota Wild has no chance to come back from slow start in Chicago

Mikko Koivu (9) checks Jonathan Toews (19) during the Minnesota Wild's 4-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 of their second round Stanley Cup playoff series Sunday at the United Center.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Minnesota Wild came out flat and were not able to recover in a 4-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday at the United Center in Game 2 of their second round Stanley Cup playoff series.

The Blackhawks (2-0) dominated the first period and held the Wild to just two shots on goal while blocking eight. However, the Wild were right in it, down by just one goal at the first intermission.

Jonathan Toews beat Mikko Koivu to the net to knock a rebound from a Marian Hossa breakaway into the open net behind Ilya Bryzgalov. Bryzgalov made an unbelievable save on Hossa’s fake shot to forehand move after the Blackhawks scorer was all alone behind Clayton Stoner. Koivu let up a little bit on the back check and Toews beat him to the crease.

For the second time in the series, the Wild played their period in the second. They turned the shots chart around and tilted the ice back toward the Blackhawks zone. But, a perfect shot by Brandon Saad over the blocker shoulder of Bryzgalov gave the Blackhawks a two-goal lead after two periods.

Just as they did in Game 1, the Wild (0-2) got a goal early in the third period when Cody McCormick beat Corey Crawford on the short side off a pass from Clayton Stoner. Erik Haula started and made the play with his speed in the neutral zone. He took the puck from a Blackhawk defenseman and took the lane into the offensive zone before sending a cross-ice pass to Stoner. Stoner returned the puck to the slot where McCormick was waiting.

The Blackhawks took the game over late in the third period again. Bryan Bickell scored his third goal of the series with a wrist shot over the glove of Bryzgalov to re-claim a two-goal lead for the Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks scored another empty-net goal with over one minute remaining when Saad beat Jared Spurgeon to a long, banked pass off the boards from Marian Hossa. Saad whacked the puck off Spurgeon’s stick and into the open net.

The Wild need to regroup and get their top two lines going. Zach Parise was on the ice for three goals allowed, Mikko Koivu for two, Jason Pominville two and Mikael Granlund two. Almost all of the offense was generated by the third and fourth lines, led by Haula.

Both teams will resume their second round Stanley Cup playoff series Tuesday for Game 3 at the Xcel Energy Center.

Three Stars

No. 3 - Marian Hossa. The Blackhawks forward recorded three assists.

No. 2 - Brandon Saad. The Blackhawks forward scored two goals.

No. 1 - Bryan Bickell. The Blackhawks forward recorded a goal and two assists.


Minnesota……0 0 1 - 1

Chicago………1 1 2 - 4

First Period - 1, Chicago, Toews 4 (Hossa, Bickell), 11:02. Penalties - Stoner, MIN (cross checking), 2:29.

Second Period - 2, Chicago, Saad 1 (Bickell, Seabrook), 19:04. Penalties - Leddy, CHI (high sticking), 10:54; Fontaine, MIN (hooking), 17:02.

Third Period - 3, Minnesota, McCormick 1 (Stoner, Haula), 2:00. 4, Chicago, Bickell 5 (Hossa, Hjalmarsson), 17:15. 5, Chicago, Saad 2 (Hossa, Hjalmarsson), 18:37 (en). Penalties - None.

Shots on goal - Minnesota 2-13-4 19. Chicago 7-8-7 22.

Goalies - Minnesota, Bryzgalov (18-21). Chicago, Crawford (18-19). Referees - Marc Joannette, Kevin Polllock. Linesmen - Shane Heyer, Jay Sharrers.

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