Chicago shuts down Wild, takes 3-1 series lead

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 8, 2013 - 9:05 AM

A powerless power play, along with an injury to goalie Josh Harding, left Thursday's Game 5 as a must-win for the Wild.

The Wild’s season is on the brink, its power play is in shambles, its two best forwards can’t score and continue to be on the ice for goals against and its trainer’s room is starting to become a triage for goaltenders.

The Chicago Blackhawks, the best team in the NHL from start to finish, put on a defensive clinic Tuesday night and frustrated the Wild every step en route to a 3-0 victory in front of 19,378 fans at Xcel Energy Center.

The Wild had hoped to turn the Western Conference quarterfinals into a best-of-three but instead returns to Chicago for Thursday’s Game 5 down three games to one.

“It’s do or die,” defenseman Ryan Suter said. “Every single guy has to play their best game if we want a chance to keep at this thing. It’s tough to reset. But we have to go in there with a mind-set of, ‘Hey, we have nothing to lose.’ ”

One question: Who’s in goal?

Josh Harding, who took over for Niklas Backstrom when he got hurt during warm-ups before Game 1, injured his left leg Tuesday. That led to rookie Darcy Kuemper making his playoff debut to open the second period.

Backstrom, in street clothes, tossed on pads to back up Kuemper in the third period, but regardless, none of the goalies can score goals.

The Wild has six goals in the series. Its power play is a ghastly 0-for-15, going 0-for-6 Tuesday with ample opportunity to get back into a game that was hanging there.

“It’s tough when you have a lot of chances on your power play and you have nothing to show for it,” Suter said. “We had some good looks, but I guess it doesn’t matter if you don’t score.”

Patrick Sharp scored twice for Chicago, Bryan Bickell once and Corey Crawford made 25 saves for his second career postseason shutout.

The Blackhawks, who gave up the fewest goals in the NHL during the regular season, did a masterful job clamping down defensively, collapsing down low and getting into shooting lanes all night. They blocked 26 shots. The Wild missed another 17.

“They’re passive, so it looks like we’ve got a lot of time … and room,” Wild forward Zach Parise said. “But they do a good job of getting in the shooting lane. So we have to figure out how to get through that.”

Koivu and Parise were each minus-2. Koivu, who doesn’t have a point through four games, is minus-5. Parise is minus-6. They attempted 20 shots on net — 12 that were either blocked or missed the cage.

“It probably wasn’t the greatest of nights, but if you know them the way I do, you are very excited to see them play Thursday night,” coach Mike Yeo said.

Koivu, who seems to be nursing a lower-body injury, admitted frustration, saying, “Obviously it’s hard. It’s tough when you’re trying to create and it’s not going in.”

In the first period, with the Wild playing well, momentum was doused when Koivu’s pass to an exiting-the-zone Parise was intercepted by two-way star Marian Hossa. One move and one pass later, and Sharp deflected Michal Handzus’ shot.

“Mikko was trying to spring us for a 2-on-1,” Parise said. “It’s the right play by him. If that gets through, we’ve got a 2-on-1. Unfortunately it didn’t.”

With 4 ½ minutes left in the first, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews lost a puck and landed on top of Harding.

Harding was slow to get up. At the next stoppage, he began flexing his left leg. He gutted it out the rest of the period, but an ice-cold Kuemper led the Wild onto the ice for the second.

Sixty-two seconds in, after Parise’s errant pass was picked off by Sharp, Kuemper gave up a goal he should have stopped.

“Tough situation for Kuemps to come in,” Yeo said.

From there, the Wild’s power play continued to fail, including consecutive power plays to start the third.

“That’s the difference,” Koivu said. “We couldn’t capitalize on those chances. You can’t score. You can’t win a hockey game.”

Now the Wild must somehow reel off three consecutive victories to ensure its season doesn’t end.

“You guys count us out quite a bit,” Parise said tersely. “So we’ll have to rebound and work on winning that next game and getting this series back here.”

 

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NY Yankees 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
Toronto 2
Detroit 3 Top 3rd Inning
Chicago WSox 1
Chicago Cubs - F. Doubront 1:15 PM
St. Louis - J. Masterson
Cincinnati - A. Simon 3:05 PM
Pittsburgh - V. Worley
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 3rd Qtr
UAB 24
(7) UCLA 21 3rd Qtr
Virginia 10
Western Mich 14 3rd Qtr
Purdue 23
(5) Ohio State 6 3rd Qtr
Navy 7
Appalachian St 0 3rd Qtr
Michigan 35
Ga Southern 17 3rd Qtr
NC State 3
Boston College 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Colorado 3:00 PM
Seattle
New England 4:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
Montreal
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana

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