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Wild Playoffs Race Heated for Game 5 in Chicago

Updated: 05/11/2014 4:26 PM
Created: 05/11/2014 10:36 AM KSTP.com
By: Megan Stewart

The race continues for the Stanley Cup.

After two wins in Chicago to start the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Blackhawks came to Minnesota to continue their streak.

What they didn't expect was a 4-0 loss at the Xcel Energy Center for Game 3. And they didn't expect the Wild to score another four goals at home Friday night to win Game 4, 4-2.

At this point, its anyone's guess as to which way the puck will drop Sunday night for Game 5.

The Blackhawks, blanked in Game 3, were shut out twice in the postseason last year and responded with four and six goals, respectively, in their ensuing games.

The Wild, however, have been able to control the speed and flow of the past two games.

Leading the NHL in takeaways in the playoffs and allowing an average of fewer than 21 shots on goal per game in the series, the Wild improved to 5-0 at home this postseason with a 16-5 goal differential. The franchise record at Xcel Energy Center was a mere 5-10 prior to this year.

Minnesota's Matt Cooke has returned to help the team in the fight. Cooke had been suspended seven games for kneeing. He gave the Wild a boost Friday for his second round debut.

The series seemed to start like business as usual for the Blackhawks. The team looked at ease in its first two wins. But now, its fighting the heat as tensions mount.

Chicago Enforcer Brandon Bollig laid hit on Keith Ballard and was called for boarding. Ballard did not return to the game after the play. NHL officials have since determined the hit was illegal and have suspended him for two games.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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