The Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday showed why they won the Presidents' Trophy.
Thanks to 21 saves from Corey Crawford and two goals and an assist from Marian Hossa, the Chicago Blackhawks advanced to the second round of the playoffs with a 5-1 win over the Minnesota Wild in Game 5 of this Western Conference quarterfinal series.
"We didn't want to think of the last playoffs too much because we're a different team right now," said Hossa. "It's good to get past this first one because this was a tough series. I'm glad that we're going to the next round."
Marcus Kruger had a goal and an assist, Andrew Shaw and Patrick Sharp each had a goal and Duncan Keith and Jonathan Toews posted two assists each for the Blackhawks, who avoided a third straight first-round loss after winning the Stanley Cup in 2010.
Torrey Mitchell scored the lone goal of the game for the Wild, who were in the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season, but still haven't won a playoff series since defeating the Vancouver Canucks in the 2003 Western Conference semifinals.
"You're not going to go far if you don't put the pucks in the net when you have the opportunities," said Minnesota forward Zach Parise. "It was kind of a common theme for us throughout these losses, we just couldn't bury the puck and it's frustrating."
Josh Harding, who left at the end of the first period in Game 4 with a lower- body injury, was pulled from the net in the second period after allowing three goals on 18 shots. Darcy Kuemper allowed two goals on 15 shots in relief.
Chicago got on the board with 4:21 left in the first period as a quick pass from the left corner by Towes went to the left circle where Hossa one-timed it home for his second of the playoffs.
Just 3:19 into the second, the Blackhawks made it a 2-0 game as Michael Frolik's shot from the left wing was deflected wide of the net, but Kruger picked it up and wrapped it in from the right side off the leg of Harding for his first playoff goal.
It was a 3-0 game just over three minutes later as a Brandon Saad one-timer from the left circle was stopped, but Hossa came from behind the net and backhanded in the rebound.
Shortly after Jared Spurgeon hit the post on a power play in the second, the Wild got on the board as Kyle Brodziak's pass from the right of the net went to the slot where Mitchell one-timed it home at 10:11.
The Blackhawks, though, got it back just 35 seconds later as Brian Bickell's turnaround shot from the left went wide, but it bounced off the boards and came to the right side where Shaw shot it in.
Sharp scored on the power play 6:04 into the third to put the game out of reach.
This was the first time the Blackhawks met the Wild in the postseason. Chicago had taken four of the six matchups with the former Minnesota North Stars ... Sharp and Hossa each had six points in the series to lead all skaters in the series ... Chicago was 1-for-3 on the power play while Minnesota went 0-for-2.