Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 05/10/14 at 01:17 AM ET
The Minnesota Wild have pulled two fast ones on the Chicago Blackhawks, utilizing home ice to their advantage (Minnesota's 5-and-0 at home). All of a sudden, the defending Stanley Cup champs have won two consecutive games, as the AP notes:
The Minnesota Wild have turned their home ice into a deafening, discouraging place for opponents to play in the playoffs. For the second straight game, they dominated the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.
Jason Pominville scored in the second period off the back of Chicago goalie Corey Crawford's skate, and the Wild beat the Blackhawks 4-2 on Friday night to even their Western Conference semifinal at two games apiece.
"It's been fun to play here. I don't know what it is, but we have to find a way to bring that on the road as well," said Jared Spurgeon, whose third-period goal gave the Wild a cushion for the final stretch while the fans cheered and chanted louder and louder.
"They play hard in their building, and they're good in their building, and they check well so it's tough to get momentum in here," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
Matt Cooke returned from his seven-game kneeing suspension to give the Wild a jolt, assisting on Justin Fontaine's opening goal, and Nino Niederreiter also scored.
And here are the game's highlights. When Ilya Bryzgalov becomes a competent goalie, even the Blackhawks' offensive juggernaut can hit quite the roadblock in Mr. Universe (who stopped 18 of 20 shots) and his trapping friends:
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