CHICAGO - Jonathan Toews had a rebound goal early in the third period, and that proved to be the game winner as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1 on Sunday night.
The Wild got out to an early lead after a solid first period of play. The Wild took the crowd out of the game after Erik Haula sped through the neutral zone and scored on a rebound on Corey Crawford.
But once the second period of play started, the feeling of the game shifted.
"I thought that we got a little bit soft in our game which allowed them to come at us," said Wild coach Mike Yeo.
Chicago clearly won the the second period of play. They outshot the Wild 15-6 in the second period.
Bryan Bickell scored on a power play at 9:18 in the period. It was his fourth goal of the series.
Overall, Ilya Bryzgalov played well enough to keep the Wild in the game making 26 saves on the night.
"I thought he did a great job," Yeo said. "For me, that's one real positive from this game. He was solid all night. He has seemed as the series has gone on, he's gotten better. He's gotten more confident and certainly he gave us every opportunity to win this game."
His counterpart, Crawford, bounced back after struggling at times in Minnesota. He made 27 saves. He also got good defense in front of him. The Blackhawks stymied the Wild forcing Yeo to mix up lines in hopes of finding a spark.
"We weren't generating anything and more on that, I didn't feel we were generating any momentum. It's not like we were generating chances. More so, we just weren't getting any sustained pressure or any zone time."
The Wild managed to get a few good chances in the third. They had 15 shots on net, but Crawford and the Blackhawks held on for the win.
They improved to 6-0 in this postseason at the United Center and 17-2 over the past two playoffs.
With the win the Blackhawks take a 3-2 series lead in the Western Conference semifinals. It's the same scenario the Wild faced in the first round against the Avalanche.
"It's similar in that it sucks," Yeo said. "It sucks to lose a game like this. Obviously, when you lose your frustrated, your mad."
Asked whether he thinks the Wild are the better team in the series, Yeo was quick to focus on moving forward rather than looking back.
"The only thing that matters is next game," Yeo said. "We should be confident. We should feel good about what we are capable of doing here, but to me anything that has happened in the first five games is irrelevant."
Game 6 is Tuesday night in Minnesota, where the Wild are undefeated in this postseason. The fans will be ready at the Xcel Energy Center at 8 p.m. and Yeo said players and coaches will fully understand that's it's win or go home.
"We recognize that we better be ready," Yeo said.