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Minnesota Wild miss opportunity to take Game 1 in Chicago

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The Minnesota Wild outplayed the Chicago Blackhawks most of the way, but failed to capitalize on their opportunities. The Blackhawks scored three unanswered goals to pull away for a 5-2 win Friday in Game 1 of their second round Stanley Cup playoffs series at the United Center.

Patrick Kane was given space and he took advantage for a pair of goals that turned a tied game into a two-goal lead. The two goals came eight minutes and 25 seconds apart.

The first was a thing of beauty. He faked a drop pass at the blue line and got past Jonas Brodin, who had a rough game, for a backhand shot to the top shelf. Ilya Bryzgalov, who was understandably too deep in his net, looked like he was anticipating a pass and left room on the short side. Kane found it for the game-winning goal.

The Wild (0-1) had opportunities to take the game over in the first and second periods, but failed to capitalize. The most disappointing aspect of the game for the Wild is that they missed the net on 18 shot attempts, 11 in the second period alone. The Wild dominated the second period with a 17-3 shots on goal advantage, but missed the net on their best scoring chances.

Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville had the roughest time with it. Granlund had the two best opportunities, but hit the post off a backdoor pass in the second period and re-directed a pass just wide in the third. Pominville just rifled shots off the glass consistently throughout the first and second periods.

Clayton Stoner finally got the Wild on the board with a shot from the point that was initially stopped by Corey Crawford. But, the puck snuck through Crawford and bounced around before going into the net off the skate of Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya. Stoner had a strong game with six hits, in addition to his goal. At least four of his hits were big hits.

The Wild tied the game at the 6:56 mark of the third period when Erik Haula fed a pass across the crease to Kyle Brodziak for a tap-in backdoor goal. Dany Heatley forced a turnover at the sideboards to start the play.

The Blackhawks (1-0) got the first two goals of the game with power play tallies, both with Brodin in the penalty box for high sticking. Bryan Bickell deflected a shot by Brent Seabrook past Bryzgalov in the first period and Marian Hossa had a tap-in on the backdoor off a pass from Brandon Saad in the second.

Bickell capped the scoring with an empty-net goal with two minutes and 41 seconds remaining in the game.

The two teams will resume their second round Stanley Cup playoff series on Sunday at the United Center.

Three Stars

No. 3 - Clayton Stoner. The Wild defenseman had a goal and six hits.

No. 2 - Corey Crawford. The Blackhawks goaltender stopped 30 shots.

No. 1 - Patrick Kane. The Blackhawks forward scored two goals.

Boxscore

Minnesota……0 0 2 - 2

Chicago………1 1 3 - 5

First Period - 1, Chicago, Bickell 3 (Seabrook, Hossa), 14:48 (pp). Penalties - Shaw, CHI (interference), 3:13; Brodin, MIN, double (high sticking), 13:09.

Second Period - 2, Chicago, Hossa 2 (Saad, Leddy), 11:21 (pp). Penalties - Bench, CHI (too many men; served by Bollig), 7:13; Brodin, MIN (high sticking), 10:09; Leddy, CHI (elbowing), 11:37; Bench, MIN (too many men; Niederreiter), 19:16.

Third Period - 3, Minnesota, Stoner 1 (Parise, Pominville), 2:19. 4, Minnesota, Brodziak 3 (Haula, Heatley), 6:56. 5, Chicago, Kane 4 (Sharp, Seabrook), 8:22. 6, Chicago, Kane 5 (Smith, Sharp), 16:47. 7, Chicago, Bickell 4 (Toews, Hossa), 17:19 (en). Penalties - None.

Shots on goal - Minnesota 8-17-7 32. Chicago 13-3-6 22.

Goalies - Minnesota, Bryzgalov (17-21). Chicago, Crawford (30-32). Referees - Dan O’Halloran, Kelly Sutherland. Linesmen - Scott Driscoll, Steve Miller.

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