- Scott Powers, Reporter
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How it happened: The Blackhawks elevated their play in Game 5 to finish off the Wild. Marian Hossa gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead in the first period, and the Blackhawks built on that with three more goals in the second period. Hossa added his second goal in the second period, and Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger also chipped in with goals. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford had his goalless streak snapped after four periods with a Wild goal in the second period, but he still held Minnesota to one goal and made 21 saves. Wild starting goaltender Josh Harding was pulled after the Blackhawks' third goal and replaced by Darcy Kuemper. Patrick Sharp scored the Blackhawks' fifth goal, which also happened to be his fifth of the playoffs.
Player of the game: Hossa had his playoffs cut short last season when he suffered a head injury in Game 3 against the Phoenix Coyotes. He has made his presence known throughout the Wild series. He scored three goals and dished out three assists in the five games.
What it means: The Blackhawks won the series in five games and now advance to the Western Conference semifinals. It's the first playoff series the Blackhawks won since winning the Stanley Cup in 2010. They were eliminated in the first round the past two seasons. The Blackhawks showed throughout the series the traits that led them to the Presidents' Trophy. They received consistent goaltending from Crawford, had contributions from all four lines and their penalty kill shut out the Wild on 17 power-play opportunities.
What's next: The Blackhawks now await their Western Conference semifinal opponent. They could face the Detroit Red Wings, who are down 3-2 to the Anaheim Ducks, or the San Jose Sharks, who have already swept the Vancouver Canucks.