Blackhawks sweep Wild, advance to West final
(The Sports Xchange) - Chicago advanced to the Western Conference final after a 4-3 win over Minnesota on Thursday gave the Blackhawks a sweep of their semi-final series.
The Blackhawks, who eliminated Minnesota from the playoffs for the third consecutive season, will face either Anaheim or Calgary in the West final. The Ducks lead the Flames 2-1 in their series.
Defenseman Brent Seabrook put Chicago ahead midway through the first period and Andrew Shaw doubled their advantage at 3:28 of the second.
The Wild pulled one back three minutes later through Erik Huala but the Blackhawks opened a three-goal cushion in the third with goals from Patrick Kane and a short-handed effort from Marian Hossa.
The Wild set up a tense finale after goals from Jason Pominville and Nino Niederreiter in the last three minutes narrowed the deficit to 4-3 but the Hawks held on to complete the four-game sweep.
Goaltender Corey Crawford made 34 saves to pick up the win. He stopped 124 of 131 shots during a series in which the Wild never led.
The only sour note for Chicago was a gruesome ankle injury suffered by defenseman Michal Rozsival, who was skating backwards when he lost his balance and his ankle bent back awkwardly as he fell.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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