By Brad Gardner
The Blackhawks advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 5-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. Corey Crawford put on a show early for the United Center crowd, before the offense kicked into gear and put the Wild in the rear view.
Marian Hossa scored twice and Jonathan Toews, scoreless in the first four games of the series, got on the score sheet with two assists. The Hawks out-shot the Wild 33-22 in the game, but Crawford had a handful of huge stops in those 21 saves.
The visitors had more than a few good looks in the opening period, but the play of Crawford kept them off the board. The stingy Hawks defense from game four was not immediately noticeable, but Crawford could do no wrong; his worst rebounds wound up being his best saves, turning away initial chances from the likes of Jason Pominville and Devin Setoguchi only to make better saves on the subsequent looks from Mikko Koivu and Matt Cullen.