(The Sports Xchange) - Right winger Patrick Kane's first-period power-play goal was the difference in Chicago's 1-0 win over the Wild on Tuesday, giving the Blackhawks a 3-0 stranglehold on their Western Conference semi-final playoff series.
Goalie Corey Crawford added a 30-save shutout for Chicago, which quieted the raucous Minnesota crowd in the first period, then frustrated the home team throughout.
The Blackhawks, who ended Minnesota's season in the playoffs the past two years, can sweep the series and send the Wild to the offseason again with a win on Thursday.
The Wild had 21 saves from goalie Devan Dubnyk, but were an offensive no-show once again. Minnesota managed just two even-strength goals in the series so far.
It was a familiar role for Kane, who has been Minnesota's playoff nemesis in recent years. It was his overtime goal in Game Six last season that ended the Wild's playoff run. In 14 career playoff games against the Wild, Kane has seven goals and six assists.
Momentum swung like a pendulum in the opening period, with the Wild getting the game's first four shots on goal, but needed Dubnyk to come up with a few highlight-reel saves as the Blackhawks offense heated up.
The Blackhawks cashed in on their first power play, as Kane netted his sixth goal of the playoffs, taking a pass from center Andrew Shaw before beating Dubnyk with a low shot from the left circle.
(Editing by Cameron French)