For two periods, it seemed the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks were content with a tight-checking game devoid of much pace or excitement. Then the third period started. Did things ever change quickly.
The Wild, after failing to rise to the occasion during the first two games of this series in Chicago, came alive in the third period of Game 3 on Tuesday, erupting for a quartet of goals. Erik Haula and Mikael Granlund scored less than three minutes apart early in the period to open up a lead for the Wild, and Minnesota captured a 4-0 victory to cut Chicago’s series lead to 2-1.
Ilya Bryzgalov picked up his first Stanley Cup playoff shutout since 2006, when he posted three consecutive goose eggs as a member of the Anaheim Ducks. The last of those shutouts came May 7, 2006, according to NHL.com. Talk about timing.
Bryzgalov made 19 saves, atoning for an individual eight consecutive losses in playoff starts, dating back to May of 2012.
There were anxious moments for the Wild, despite the win. Ryan Suter, the Wild’s anchor on the blue line, briefly left the game in the second period after an awkward fall with Chicago forward Marian Hossa. Suter went off to the dressing room, but did return for the third period.
Wild head coach Mike Yeo said he was told Suter’s injury was “nothing serious,” as per Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press.
The Minnesota win ensures the series goes beyond four games, and now the Wild will have a chance to even this one up on Friday.