Prior to Game 5 Wild players were talking about ways to package the effort that they had at the Xcel Energy Center in games three and four and overnight FedEx it to 1901 Madison Avenue West in Chicago. The effort was there in the first period, but the offense faded as the Blackhawks stymied the Wild offense.
Corey Crawford made 27 saves while the Blackhawks got the benefit of a fortunate bounce as Jonathan Toews scored the game winner as they took a 3-2 series lead with a 2-1 victory in Game 5.
The Wild's Erik Haula got the first goal of the game when he made a strong move at the Blackhawks' blue line, made Patrick Kane look silly, got a shot on Corey Crawford, was able to gather his own rebound and score as the Puck fluttered into the net. It was his third goal of the playoffs and the former Golden Gopher continues to make an impact in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Minnesota was able to out-shoot the Cup Champs 8-6 in the first and was able to get the United Center crowd to boo their team off the ice.
Chicago grabbed hold of the play in the second period. They out-shot the Wild 15-6 during the second period and Ilya Bryzgalov had to be strong in his net. Jonas Brodin took a bad hooking minor and on the ensuing power play, Bryan Bickell, the Wild killer, scored after he deflected a Patrick Kane shot through Bryzgalov. Hawks head coach Joel Quenneville juggled his lines early and often trying to find offense and pressure against the strong defense of the Wild.
If you're not counting Mikael Granlund's 60 percent effort in the face off dots, the rest of the Wild's centers were subpar at best.
Special teams were again the difference maker in Game 5. The Blackhawks capitalized on the power play while the Wild were unable to convert on their single chance. The Wild couldn't get much going in the offensive zone to even draw penalties.
The third period started off well for the hometown 20 by getting good pressure and three quick shots on goal where Crawford had to be good. The Wild then began to run around a bit in their own end. Marian Hossa was able to get his stick on a puck that Ryan Suter gloved and tried to move out of the zone. The puck somehow ended up on Toews' stick and he was able to put the Hawks up for good. Cue Chelsea Dagger.
Mike Yeo pulled the goalie with 2:17 left in regulation and got some good looks at the net with the top guns on the ice, but Crawford was strong again. With a less than a minute left, the Wild were able to get decent zone time, but the Blackhawks kept the play on the boards and the Wild were unable to muster any decent opportunity.