After a pretty rough game ops start, the Wild seemed content to continue displaying that pattern of behavior for the first period. A horrible turnover by Keith Ballard started a horrible series of events and lead to a goal by Chicago's Kris Versteeg in the first 2 minutes.
That goal seemed to wake up the Wild just a bit, and they spent the rest of the period fighting tooth and nail for puck possession and were able to hem the Blackhawks in their own zone for a while.
Despite the most moronic play Matt Cooke could make (especially after just coming back from a suspension), the Wild managed to look strong on the penalty kill, and keep the power play form looking downright terrible.
Erik Haula scored a beautiful goal in the second period to tie the game up at 1. He took off for the puck like a he was shot out of a cannon. He played well all season, but he's really stepped up his game in the playoffs. We've said it before, but what a great 7th round pick.
Most of the second period was a dual of stonewalling goalies. Ilya Bryzgalov had a fantastic save on Patrick Sharp that no one thought he made. Seriously, you could hear a pin drop for the 2 seconds it took fans to realize he actually stopped the puck.
Corey Crawford answered back right away with a stop on a Justine Fontaine breakaway. Fontaine actually had a number of great chances in the second, at one point Crawford had to make two saves back to back after Fontaine managed to grab his own rebound and get the shot off again.
The third period was a battle from start to finish, with both teams have sustained pressure. The Wild had the clear lead in goal attempts until the very end of the period, but nether team had the gas to get this done in regulation. For the first time in this series (after like million OTs in Colorado), the game was heading to overtime.
OT had all the makings of your typical Wild "backs against the wall" type of Finnish. The Wild put all the pressure on the Blackhawks, had a number of close shots and great chances. In the end however, Patrick Kane would end the Wild's hope of chasing the Stanley Cup this season after a wicked crazy bounce off the glass.
The feel of the room sucks, to be blunt. The team is frustrated, mostly because this was absolutely a game they could have won. But the great news is that they can build of this, and come back next year with just as much fire.
We'll touch on some things the Wild will be looking at over the next few weeks. I'll say my goodbye to the site, and the changeover with Joe and Tony will be complete. We'll have team grades and all those other things you guys have come to love at the end of the season.
I'll end with this though for the great Wild fans out there to chew on. Two years ago, the Wild finished 23rd in the NHL. Today, they outlasted all but 6 teams. That's a hell of a far way to come in two years.
Plus, it could be worse. We could be Oilers fans.