As the Blackhawks try to live up to the large expectations from their regular season stay on top of their developments with We Are Regal Radio Sidney Brown here on WARR online and on Regal broadcasting. Also follow on twitter @regalradio1.
By Sidney Brown, WARR contributor
The Minnesota Wild’s hard-earned 3-2 overtime victory in game 3 Sunday afternoon was a great display of playoff hockey featuring physical and strong checking defense which allowed limited scoring chances.
Jason Zucker’s wrister just over two minutes into extra play kept Minnesota off the prohibitive death bed of a 3-0 series deficit and set up a much more important game four on Tuesday night than the Hawks may have expected to play coming into this weekend.
Playing its first home playoff game at the Xcel Energy Center since 2008, the Wild played like a desperate team, out-hitting the Hawks 31-12 through regulation and not allowing Chicago to play its up-tempo offensive game. Give the Wild credit for doing what most teams can’t do against the Hawks — frustrate them by being physical and playing strong defense.
With the intensity ramped up, the Wild looked fatigued late in regulation, which allowed the Hawks to tie the game 2-2 with a goal by Hawks defenseman Duncan Keith, who slapped the puck by Wild goalie Josh Harding at 17:14 in the third. The Hawks stayed patient throughout the game, the persistence paid off late for Keith but it wasn’t enough and the Wild wanted it more.
First, to Hawks goalie Corey Crawford who had 34 saves on 37 shots, even though he gave up the overtime winner. Without Crawford’s stellar play, the Hawks would have been out of this game.
Second, to Harding, who was injured during warmups, but managed to play in the game despite taking a puck to the face and made 25 saves on 27 shots.
Third, to Hawks winger Patrick Kane for delivering two beautiful assists to keep the Hawks in the game.
And last but not least, to Wild superstar Zach Parise for showing up on the score sheet with a goal in the third period to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead in the third period and apparently the insurance goal they needed.
My Game Puck goes to the Wild’s Zucker for his game-winner. Minnesota did what it needed to do to get back into the series. Meanwhile, if the Hawks do not want to lose control of this series, they need to set the pace on offense with their up-tempo style and continue their strong play on defense, helping out Crawford as much as possible.
Sidney Brown is a veteran in sports radio, having worked for Sporting News Radio for several years. Sidney has followed hockey since 1993, the year after the Blackhawks lost the Stanley Cup Finals to the Pittsburgh Penguins. A huge Hawks fan, Sidney went to his first game in April of 1999. He proudly owns 14 Hawks jerseys.