ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota won a much needed game going down two games to none in the series and they got that this afternoon as they brought out a much physical game to the Xcel Energy Center. Two minutes and fifteen seconds into overtime, the Wild’s persistence with the fore-check paid off as the battle was happening behind the net. The puck quickly came out on the left wing as Jason Zucker got the game-winner on a tough-angle shot in past Corey Crawford who was covering the post for the 3-2 victory.
The Blackhawks got on the board first as right wing Marian Hossa powered towards the net while being hounded by a Wild player while having the puck on his tape. Patrick Kane came in across in fron of the goal and gathered the puck skating towards the right wing and drawing the Wild to him. He spotted defenseman Johnny Oduya across the ice and passed it over allowing plenty of time for him to set up a wrister in on Josh Harding who was starting in his third game in relief of Nicklas Markstrom.
As the first period was winding down, left wing Pierre-Marc Bouchard with the puck flew in with speed into the Hawks zone. Cal Cutterbuck then took control of the puck and drove to the net and slid in towards Crawford losing the puck. Bouchard’s momentum placed him right outside of the net where he gathered the biscuit and backhanded it high over the glove-hand as the Hawks stood around watching with just a minute and a half left in the period. The Wild outshot the Hawks by a 15-9 margin.
After a no-goal second the Wild took the lead early in the third as defenseman Zach Parise scored as yet another puck came out from behind the net almost identical to the game-winner.
But like all season long, you know that you cannot count the Blackhawks out. Center Patrick Sharp skated in from the neutral zone along the near boards as the Wild was making a line change on the opposite side. That little defensive lapse gave the Hawks a huge advantage as Sharp passed the puck behind him at the blue-line who spotted defenseman Duncan Keith on the opposite wing and potted a goal in on Harding to send the game into overtime.
Three Stars of the Game
Third Star: Minnesota Wild Goaltender John Harding with the win on 27 saves
Second Star: Minnesota Wild Defenseman Zach Parise with his first goal of the playoffs
First Star: Minnesota Wild Left Wing Jason Zucker with the game-winner in overtime
Western Conference Quarter-Finals
(1) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (8) Minnesota Wild
Chicago Blackhawks lead the series 2-1
Game 1 : Minnesota Wild 1 at Chicago Blackhawks 2 Overtime
Game 2 : Minnesota Wild 2 at Chicago Blackhawks 5
Game 3 : Wild Chicago Blackhawks 2 at Minnesota 3 Overtime
Game 4 : Wild Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Tuesday May 7, 8:30 PM CDT
Game 5 : Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks Thursday May 9, TBD
*Game 6 : Wild Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Saturday May 11, TBD
*Game 7 : Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks Sunday May 12, TBD
* if necessary