USATSI_8555589_154158418_lowresThe Minnesota Wild fought valiantly as the minutes ticked off the clock, but in the end the Chicago Blackhawks were able to pull off the Wednesday night win and managed the sweep in their second round playoff series. The final score was 4-3.

Minnesota certainly made it interesting. With the Blackhawks up 3-1, coach Mike Yeo pulled Devan Dubnyk from the crease and tried to open things up for the home team. But Chicago struck, with Marian Hossa collecting his first playoff goal of the year into the yawning cage. It looked like it was all but over.

Less than a minute later, however, the Wild decided to make a run at it. Jason Pominville scored his third of the playoffs, putting the biscuit past Corey Crawford and putting some life back into his team. That momentum carried through less than a minute after that, with Nino Niederreiter scoring. The scoreboard read 4-3. The Wild were in it with a minute and a half to go.

But it was not to be. Chicago played containment and tried to shut things out for a frenetic finish, pulling out the sweep in a state of exhaustion. They didn’t hoot and holler. They looked relieved to have survived.

Shots in Wednesday’s Game Four were 37-25 for Minnesota. The Blackhawks went one for two on the man advantage, while the Wild were one for three. Minnesota dominated the physical play, throwing 24 hits to Chicago’s six. Faceoffs were knotted even at 34 apiece, as were blocked shots at 14 apiece.

The story was told in terms of giveaways and that was kind of the trend of the series. Minnesota just wasn’t able to limit mistakes. And a team like Chicago will always capitalize on mistakes. In Game Four, the Wild had nine giveaways. The Blackhawks made those chances count.

And for the record, Chicago had zero giveaways in Game Four.

Obviously Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith were dangerous as usual. Kane collected his seventh goal of the playoffs in Game Four. He now has 13 points in 10 games, while Toews has 11 points in 10. And Keith has been piling up numbers on the blueline, dominating in ice time and playing in all situations. That continued against the Wild. He now has 10 points in 10 games.

Chicago will now await the Western Conference Final, marking the fifth time in seven years they’ve made it to that level of the post-season. The Blackhawks quite simply know how to win. They’re 14-4 in series-clinching games since 2007-2008 and there are no signs of stopping.

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