A fortunate bounce off the glass allowed Patrick Kane to score on Minnesota’s Ilya Bryzgalov in overtime. The goal was not reviewed and there were no complaints from the Minnesota Wild on the play.
With the 2-1 victory, the Chicago Blackhawks eliminated the Minnesota Wild on the road, and are headed to the Western Conference finals. Although Patrick Kane scored the game winner, it was Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford that got the Blackhawks the win.
He stopped two breakaway attempts from Justin Fountaine and stoned Nino Niederreiter in close who ended up almost on top of him during the play. Crawford silenced and stunned the Minnesota crowd and the players all game. He stopped 34 shots on the night and earned a well deserved place in the Western Conference final.
Kris Versteeg scored the other goal for the Blackhawks, but this Minnesota Wild team has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. They left it all out on the ice and pushed the Blackhawks to the brink of exhaustion every game in this series.
Erik Haula beat three Chicago players to the puck and scored another beautiful breakaway goal. Haula ends the playoffs with three goals to his name.
Ilya Bryzgalov had another solid performance in net for the Wild. He stopped Patrick Sharp on a breakaway and let very few rebounds go. He stopped 25 shots on the night, and was only beaten because the puck bounced to the wrong person.
This loss will be very tough for the Minnesota Wild to take. They beat the Blackhawks in shots, were the more physical side, and most times beat the Blackhawks to the puck as well. It’s a shame that such a wonderful series had to end in such a weird and unfortunate way.
Unfortunately a few key missed opportunities by the Wild allowed the Blackhawks to stay in the game. If the Wild would’ve capitalized on that powerplay opportunity they were given when Niklas Hjalmarsson shot the puck into the crowd, the Wild would’ve won the game. But that didn’t happen and the Minnesota Wild players are left with nothing but questions and disappointment.
I know this Minnesota Wild team is still in shock because of how their playoff campaign ended. But I also know that this young roster of players will only improve. I believe that the Wild will be back in the playoffs next season.
For the Chicago Blackhawks, they know that Corey Crawford stole the game for them. I’m sure Crawford doesn’t want to have to do that too many times throughout the rest of this playoff campaign. The Blackhawks will face the Anaheim Ducks or the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference final.
It will be interesting to see if Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will finally be able to score goals consistently in the next round. I can’t wait for the action to begin.
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