The Chicago Blackhawks swept the Minnesota Wild in the second round of their Stanley Cup Playoff series with a 4-3 win in Game 4 on May 7.
The Chicago Blackhawks have swept the Minnesota Wild.
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According to Corey Masisak of the Blackhawks' official website, four different Chicago players -- Brent Seabrook, Andrew Shaw, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa -- scored while netminder Corey Crawford finished with 34 saves as they move on the Western Conference Finals for the fifth time in the last seven years.
Masisak says the last team to accomplish this feat was the Colorado Avalanche from 1996-2002.
Not only that, the Blackhawks also upped their record to 14-4 "in potential series-clinching games since (Jonathan) Toews and Patrick Kane arrived in 2007-08," stresses Masisak. They also remained undefeated in 30 games this season when they led after two periods.
Chicago was actually up, 4-1, on Hossa's shorthanded, empty-net goal with just 3:07 left in the game before Minnesota scored two goals 51 seconds apart in the last two minutes to close the gap, per Masisak.
However, that wasn't enough.
The Blackhawks got a lucky break when Seabrooks' shot hit Wild defenseman Marco Scandella before it went into the net past goaltender Devan Dubnyk. Bryan Bickell was credited with the assist, per NHL.com.
Toews shot the puck down the middle of the ice before it got wedged underneath Minnesota defenseman Nate Prosser's body. Shaw whacked at the puck twice before sending it into the net to give his team a 2-0 lead in the second period, per Masisak.
After Crawford stuffed Matt Dumba's shot, Erik Haula got the rebound and scored to put Minnesota on the board to cut the deficit to 2-1. Shortly before that, Masisak says Chicago defenseman Michal Rozsival injured his left leg on his team's blue line.
Rozsival had to be assisted off the ice. He did not return to the game, per NHL.com.
Kane upped the Blackhawks' lead to 3-1 at the 13:20 mark of the third period when Bickell recovered a loose puck in the neutral zone to trigger a 2-on-1 opportunity. Bickell then whipped the pass to Kane, who did the rest. It was his fifth goal of the series, per Masisak.
Kane is now second in the league in postseason points (13) and goals (seven) behind the Anaheim Ducks' Corey Perry (14 points) and the Tampa Bay Lightning's Tyler Johnson (eight goals), respectively, per the league's official website.
Kane's accomplishments are made all the more remarkable by the fact that he just had surgery to repair a broken left clavicle which he sustained during a game against the Florida Panthers in February. Late that month, he was foreseen to miss the next 12 weeks.
He returned to practice a just a little over a month later, per The Chicago Sun-Times' Mark Lazerus.
Kane told The Chicago Tribune's Chris Kuc on Thursday he likes the position the Blackhawks are in:
"It's a special group here. It's an exciting time of year to play. You're in one of those positions where you realize who knows how many opportunities you'll have like this in the playoffs when you have a good team with you.
"(We're) enjoying the process, enjoying the game and then taking what's next on the list after that."
Crawford told The Chicago Tribune it was a great feeling to close the series out on the road:
"Our goal is to win the Cup so we battled hard to get to this point and we have to continue playing the way we do or get even better.
"It's a long road but we're definitely happy to close this one out (Thursday night). It feels nice to finish it here."
Chicago now awaits the winner of the ongoing second-round series between the Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks, per NBC Chicago. Should the Flames prevail, the Blackhawks will have home-ice advantage.
On the other hand, if the Ducks advance, Game 1 of the 2015 Western Conference Finals will be played at their Honda Center, per NBC Chicago. Anaheim currently leads that series 2-1.
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