Local News

Chicago,  IL (SportsNetwork.com)  - Patrick Kane kicked his quest for a second 
straight Conn Smythe Trophy into high gear on Friday. 

Kane  scored  the first two  of Chicago's three  unanswered goals in the third 
period,  as the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks downed the Minnesota 
Wild,  5-2,  in Game 1 of  their Western Conference semifinal series at United 
Center. 

Chicago  carried a  2-0  lead into  the  third, but  Clayton  Stoner and  Kyle 
Brodziak scored under five minutes apart early in the frame to even the score. 

Kane took over from there, netting the game-winner with a wicked backhander at 
8:22  before potting his  fifth of the playoffs later in the frame to give the 
Blackhawks a two-goal cushion. 

"It was one of those plays where I was about to drop it to (Patrick Sharp) but 
I  saw both defensemen  kind of go to him," Kane said of his tiebreaking goal. 
"I just tried to get in on the backhand and made a good shot." 

Bryan  Bickell,  who opened the  scoring with a  power-play goal in the first, 
added  an empty-netter  to help Chicago draw first blood in this best-of-seven 
series. 

Corey  Crawford  registered 30 saves for  the Blackhawks, who bounced the Wild 
from the playoffs in the first round of the playoffs last year. 

Ilya  Bryzgalov got the start in net for the Wild in place of an injured Darcy 
Kuemper, who was forced to exit Minnesota's Game 7 victory over Colorado after 
sustaining  an  undisclosed injury late  in the contest. Bryzgalov stopped the 
only  shot he faced in relief against the Avalanche, but turned aside just 17- 
of-21 shots in Friday's setback. 

"There  wasn't enough urgency in the details and the little things that add up 
to  make the  difference at this time  of year," Minnesota head coach Mike Yeo 
said.  "We slipped a little bit from last game. We didn't bring the same level 
and so we'll rectify that." 

Game 2 of this series is slated for Sunday in Chicago. 

Brodziak's tap-in from in front off a slick pass from Erik Haula tied the game 
at  2-2 just  under seven minutes into the third, but the Blackhawks responded 
with three answered goals, starting with Kane's backhander. 

The  Chicago winger carried the disc down the left side and into the Minnesota 
zone  before cutting through  the high slot, where he faked a drop pass. Given 
room  to work, Kane held off his defender and worked into the low right circle 
before lifting a filthy backhand over the short-side shoulder of Bryzgalov. 

Kane  doubled  Chicago's lead at 16:47  when Sharp's shot from the right point 
deflected  off Ben Smith's  stick in the circle and ricocheted to the low left 
side, where Kane was waiting to send the puck home for a 4-2 lead. 

Bickell  buried an  empty-netter 32  seconds later  to account  for the  final 
margin. 

Early  on,  Minnesota's Jonas Brodin was  sent off for a high-sticking double- 
minor at 13:09 of the opening frame and the Blackhawks cashed in less than two 
minutes into the man advantage. 

While working in the Minnesota zone, Brent Seabrook fired a heavy slapper from 
the  high  point that tipped off  Bickell's stick in front and slipped through 
Bryzgalov for a 1-0 lead with 5:12 left in the first. 

Minnesota  nearly found the equalizer late in the first after a scrum in front 
of  the  Chicago cage saw  the disc squirt across  the goal line. The referees 
ruled it no goal immediately, citing that the puck was covered and the whistle 
had  blown. Video review  confirmed the call on the ice and the Wild went into 
the first intermission trailing by a goal. 

Brodin  was sent off for high-sticking again 10:09 into the second stanza, and 
the Blackhawks capitalized on the power play once again. 

Just  after  Crawford denied Zach  Parise on a short-handed breakaway, Chicago 
worked  the  disc around the  point in the  Minnesota zone before Brandon Saad 
received a pass in the slot and stickhandled past a defender. 

From  the  low right circle, Saad  backhanded a pass  to the low left side for 
Marian Hossa, who one-timed the disc past Bryzgalov for a 2-0 lead at 11:21. 

The  Wild sliced  the margin in half  2:19 into the third after Stoner threw a 
shot  on  net from atop  the left circle. The  shot snuck through Crawford and 
trickled  toward  the goal line, but  defenseman Johnny Oduya was able to keep 
the  puck  from going  in. However, Oduya  swept the puck  into his own skate, 
causing the disc to trickle across the goal line to bring the Wild within 2-1. 

Brodziak's third of the playoffs pulled Minnesota even at 6:56. 

                                   Game Notes 

Hossa  also  had two  assists, while  Seabrook and  Sharp supplied two helpers 
apiece  in the win ... Chicago's Andrew Shaw left the game in the first period 
and  did not  return after absorbing a  hit from Stoner ... Minnesota made its 
first  appearance  in  the  second  round of  the  playoffs  since  its  first 
postseason  appearance in  2003, which  ended with  a loss  to Anaheim  in the 
conference  finals ... The Wild fell to 1-7 all-time in the first contest of a 
series and haven't won a Game 1 since their first-ever playoff game, a 4-2 win 
against Colorado on April 10, 2003. 

 
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