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Blackhawks vs. Wild Game 4 preview: Chicago goes for the sweep

Let's hope the Hawks get out their brooms and sweep into the Western Conference Finals on Thursday night.

Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

The Blackhawks look to blow out of St. Paul tonight with a second-round series sweep after a huge 1-0 defensive show Tuesday night that gave them a commanding 3-0 lead against the Minnesota Wild. After Patrick Kane's first period power play tally gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead, the "wild" ride was on. The Hawks put on a defensive clinic while the frustrated Wild threw everything they could at them to no avail.

The Hawks plan to play like they are the ones facing elimination tonight against a Wild team that has not delivered on their potential and will be desperate for a win to extend the series. Hawk team defense that was lacking, and sometimes altogether missing, against the Predators in round 1 has made and incredible comeback. Giving up just four goals in three games against the Wild and only one in the last 7.5 periods, the Hawks have held the lead for the entire series, a staggering 122:40 and are 29-0-0 this season when leading after two periods.

Corey Crawford was a beast in net, turning away a game total 30 shots and looking like his former invincible self.  Chants of Co-rey and Craw-ford, borrowed from the crowds in Los Angeles, did nothing to rattle the Hawks net-minder whose confidence and skill were in full view of an often quiet and mystified Xcel Center crowd.

It is likely that one goal is not going to be enough to notch a win tonight for the Blackhawks, but if they bring the same smothering defense for three periods again and the offense picks up where it left off in Game 2, they'll be getting the brooms out in Chicago on Thursday night.

Here were the lines at morning skate:





The defensive pairings will likely remain the same and Crow is in net.

Likely scratches:  Carcillo, Cumiskey, Rundblad, Paliotta, Nordstrom , Versteeg and Raanta.

Opponent Breakdown:  Minnesota Wild

Wild coach, Mike Yeo is looking for a lead, any lead, and the Wild have yet to come up with one in this series and according to their coach they need to figure out a way to score first. There was no lack of chances for the Wild's forwards on Tuesday night. With last change, Yeo gave his top line of Zach Parise, Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville every opportunity to match up favorably against the Blackhawks and generate some offense. Of the 3 top liners, Granlund had the best showing with 10 attempted shots and a game high 5 shots on goal, but nothing found the back of the net.  Only that line will go unchanged tonight as Yeo tries to come up with some magic to extend the series and return to the United Center on Saturday.

Goalie Devan Dubnyk gave up only 1 goal on 21 shots on Tuesday night and played a solid game, but got no help from his offensive stars or anyone else on the team for that matter. He'll have to come up with a stellar showing tonight in order to give his anemic offense a chance to win.

The WIld believe they are too good a team to be swept by the Blackhawks; tonight they will need a complete game from every player on their roster to prove it.

Here are the Wild's morning lines:





Injury report

Chicago: None

Minnesota: Justin Fontaine (lower body), Chris Stewart (upper body)

Game Information

When: 8:30 p.m. CT

Where: Xcel Energy Center


Radio: WGN-720