After seeing the team that scored the first goal win the first 19 games of the second round, the Chicago Blackhawks broke that pattern by eking out a 2-1 win against the Minnesota Wild in Game 5 on Sunday. With that, they regained their series lead as they’re now up 3-2.
That semifinals-wide trend might be over, but other patterns continued between these teams.
For one thing, the Wild continue to lose on the road and win at home (with the obvious and enormous exception being that Game 7 victory against the Avalanche in Colorado, of course).
The mood for the Blackhawks must be far different than it was after they left the Windy City up 2-0, however. The ‘Hawks left home last time around likely at least pondering a short second-round series; now they must really cross their fingers that they will be able to avoid a Game 7.
Again, Chicago wasn’t taking much for granted tonight, especially after a first period that Minnesota dominated and ended up leading 1-0. Erik Haula gave them that opening goal:
After a tepid opening frame, the Blackhawks were dominant in the second period and were rewarded with Bryan Bickell’s sixth goal of the postseason:
Jonathan Toews’ game-winning goal probably symbolizes Chicago’s win, as they absolutely needed to gut out a tough, ugly victory:
Actually, that’s the other big trend that continued: Toews scored another big one. He now has four GWG in the playoffs, representing more than half of his team’s decisive tallies (they’ve won seven postseason games so far, of course).
Both Corey Crawford and Ilya Bryzgalov faced 28 shots on goal tonight, but Crawford ultimately stopped one more shot (27 to 26) to get the big win.
It’s already quite clear that this hasn’t been the relatively easy series some expected between Chicago and Minnesota. Now the two teams will determine if this one goes the distance with Game 6 scheduled for Tuesday night.