After losing to the Minnesota Wild in game 3 on Sunday, the Chicago Blackhawks were determined to right the ship in game 4 and that is what the team did with a 3-0 victory on Tuesday. The Blackhawks now entered game 5 on Thursday with the opportunity to advance to the second round with a victory against the Wild.
In the first period of Thursday’s game, both the Hawks and Wild found many offensive opportunities as both teams had 10 shots on goal. The Hawks were the only team to convert on one of their attempts as Marian Hossa scored his second goal of the postseason in the first period to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead towards the end of the period.
The second period is when the Blackhawks took control of game. Early in the second period, Marcus Kruger scored his first goal of playoffs and extended the Hawks’ lead to 2-0. Shortly thereafter, Hossa added his second goal of night that gave the Hawks a 3-0 lead. Nearly four minutes after Hossa’s goal, the Wild responded with their only goal of night by Torrey Mitchell. Though, not even a minute later, the Hawks countered with another goal this time from Andrew Shaw.
With a 4-1 lead entering the third period, the Hawks were successful in limiting the offensive opportunities that the Wild had in the final period. Before the game reached a conclusion, Patrick Sharp added his fifth goal of the playoffs to seal a 5-1 victory for the team and an advancement to the second round.
This was an encouraging win for the Hawks as the team now prepares for the second round. The Blackhawks were able to control the game with their offensive ability, and when they do so, opposing teams have a hard time beating them. The Hawks’ penalty-kill unit remained impressive as they successfully killed the Wild’s two power-play opportunities. That too will be an area of strength for the Blackhawks in the second round.
The Blackhawks don’t have a second round opponent quite yet. Chances are that the Blackhawks will play the San Jose Sharks in the second round, but if the Detroit Red Wings are able to win their next two games against the Anaheim Ducks then the Hawks will have a second round series against the Red Wings.