May 16, 2013 / 6:08 AM / 6 years ago

Blackhawks pull away from Red Wings to claim series opener

Chicago Blackhawks center Patrick Sharp (10) celebrates his empty net goal against the Detroit Red Wings to clinch Game 1 of their NHL Western Conference semi-final playoffs in Chicago, Illinois, May 15, 2013. REUTERS/Jim Young

(Reuters) - The Chicago Blackhawks used a three-goal blitz in the final period to secure a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings in Game One of their Western Conference semi-final series on Wednesday.

Following a scoreless second period, Johnny Oduya broke a 1-1 tie at 8:02 in the third and the top-seeded Blackhawks raised their tempo to pull away from the seventh-seeded Red Wings.

Marcus Kruger netted three minutes later before Patrick Sharp added his sixth goal of the playoffs on an empty-net shot in the last minute.

Chicago will look to stretch their lead in the best-of-seven series when they host Game Two at the United Center on Saturday.

In the opener, the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Blackhawks imposed their will and outshot Detroit 42-21.

Jimmy Howard stopped 38 shots and Damien Brunner recorded a goal in the first for the Red Wings.

Detroit stunned the Anaheim Ducks in the first round where they captured a deciding Game Seven to advance to a much tougher task against Chicago, who has won the last eight meetings between the teams.

Sharp collected two assists and Marian Hossa also converted a power-play shot for the home side. Corey Crawford needed just 20 saves as the Blackhawks continue to thrive.

Chicago overpowered Minnesota in the first round, outscoring their opponents by a combined 17-7 in a four-game sweep.

Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien

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