Blackhawks aren't taking Game 5 for granted

  • Article by: BOB HURST , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 9, 2013 - 12:04 AM

“I feel like the series is never over until the final buzzer sounds,” said Chicago forward Patrick Sharp, who has scored four goals in the past two games.

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Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford made 25 saves in the Game 4 shutout Tuesday night and got help in the form of 26 blocked shots.

Photo: CARLOS GONZALEZ, Star Tribune

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– The Chicago Blackhawks are in a place they haven’t been since winning the Stanley Cup in 2010. With a 3-1 lead in their first-round, best-of-seven series against the Wild, the Blackhawks are on the verge of winning in the first round for the first time in three seasons.

Still ...

“I feel like the series is never over until the final buzzer sounds,” said Chicago forward Patrick Sharp, who has scored four goals in the past two games. “We expect Minnesota to come in and play their best game of the series here in Game 5. They’ve got a lot of character, so no question they’re going to show up and play hard tomorrow.

“We have a great opportunity to end the series, use our building, use our fans to our advantage.”

The Blackhawks still are smarting from their Game 3 loss in St. Paul.

“This is a chance to redeem ourselves for the way we played in Game 3,” Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “Everyone’s saying we haven’t played our best game yet in this series, so we got to get as close to that as we can.”

Game 4, a 3-0 victory on Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center, was a big improvement for Chicago.

“We ratcheted up our emotion and intensity going into that game; we still think there’s another level we want to get to,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.

Frantic day

Defenseman Duncan Keith became a father for the first time Tuesday, just hours before Game 4. After hearing that wife Kelly-Rae was in labor, Keith flew to Chicago on Monday night, was present for the birth of his son Colton at 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, and flew back to Minnesota in time for the game.

“A whirlwind, the last 24 hours,” Keith said. “So much excitement getting to see my little boy.”

Keith arrived at Xcel Energy Center at 6:30 p.m. and played 24 minutes in the Blackhawks’ victory.

Getting defensive

Chicago put the clamps on the Wild offense in Game 4, shutting it out. The Blackhawks clogged the shooting lanes, blocked 26 shots, and goaltender Corey Crawford made 25 saves.

The Blackhawks’ depth and play of their forwards has been a key during the series, and all season, when they led the NHL with 2.02 goals against per game, compared with 2.82 (22nd) last season.

“The goals-against have been cut dramatically from this season to last; a lot of that has to do with the five guys on the ice,” Sharp said. “Our goaltenders have been strong all season long. I think whoever’s on the ice, the three forwards, two defense, we kind of work as a unit protecting our net. Blocking shots, keeping pucks out of our end — that’s been a huge reason why we’ve been winning games.”

Perfect kill

Chicago killed off six Wild power-play opportunities in Game 4, and the Wild is 0-for-15 in the series.

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Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston - WP: T. Sipp 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 1
San Francisco - WP: T. Hudson 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 3
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 5
Chicago WSox - LP: D. Webb 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 4
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 0
Atlanta 3 Bottom 12th Inning
Cincinnati 1
Seattle - WP: D. Leone 5 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6 FINAL
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 8 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 3
Detroit 5 Bottom 7th Inning
Minnesota 15
Miami 7 Bottom 8th Inning
Colorado 4
San Diego 0 Top 8th Inning
Arizona 4
LA Angels 2 Bottom 5th Inning
Oakland 1
NY Mets 1 Bottom 6th Inning
Los Angeles 2
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 0 2nd Qtr 0:35
Seattle 28
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Montreal 16 0:40
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 80 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 53 4th Qtr
Phoenix 56
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