The Chicago Blackhawks came from behind to beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1 Sunday night. Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews scored the game winning goal early in the third. Bryan Bickell also scored for Chicago, and now has six goals in the playoffs. This was an impressive victory for the Blackhawks that allowed them to retake the lead in the series at 3-2.
The key point in Sunday’s victory for the Blackhawks was the response from Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Marion Hossa. Both Kane and Toews lost their composure in game four and Hossa was non-existent as well. However, all these players rebounded in game five and accumulated points throughout the game. Toews was very vocal on the bench, was aggressive on the forecheck and scored the game winning goal. Kane and Hossa each got an assist on the night and Patrick Sharp continued his point streak, getting two assists as well.
Corey Crawford stopped 27 shots on the night holding off a barrage of shots late in the third to get the win. But closing out the series in Minnesota will be quite a challenge for the defending Stanley Cup Champions. The first goal has been critical in each one of these games. And if the Wild score first, I believe the crowd will lift their team to victory. The Wild played a decent game on Sunday night. Erik Haula used his speed to fly threw the neutral zone, picked up his own rebound and beat Corey Crawford. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter had a combined six shots on goal.
Jason Pominville and Kyle Brozniak did a wonderful job forcing turnovers in the neutral zone and stalling the Blackhawks' attacks. Ilya Bryzgalov was solid in goal yet again stopping 26 shots to keep his team in the game. Surprisingly, Mikko Koivu was silent all game. He’ll need to be far better if the Wild hope to tie the series. Still, this game could’ve gone either way in my opinion. It was close right to the very end.
I believe the Minnesota Wild must get a lot more traffic in front of Corey Crawford. Crawford lost his composure Sunday night when Chicago defencemen Sheldon Brookbank pushed Wild forward Cody Mccormick on top of him. Crawford retaliated, but was not penalized on the night. That being said, if Wild agitator Matt Cooke can get in the face of Crawford, perhaps that screen will draw a penalty or create some deflections that end up fooling Crawford, much like Bryan Bickell’s goal did for Chicago.
Well, Chicago got the response that they needed from their best players. Now it’s time to see if Minnesota’s best players can do the same on Tuesday night in Minnesota. I believe the Wild will force a game seven matchup in this series. I can’t wait to see how this series will conclude in the next few days.
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