Minnesota at Chicago
When: 9:30 PM ET, Thursday, May 9, 2013
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
The Minnesota Wild might run out of goaltenders before they run out of opportunities to stay alive in their Western Conference first-round series. The eighth-seeded Wild will likely start netminder Darcy Kuemper when they visit the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday in Game 5, trailing 3-1 after losing both Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding. Backstrom suffered a leg injury while warming up for Game 1, while Harding left Game 4 with an apparent lower-body injury following a collision with Chicago captain Jonathan Toews. Kuemper was unable to stop the first shot he faced in his postseason career but finished Tuesday’s contest with 16 saves on 18 shots.
The Blackhawks have dominated Minnesota at home in the series, outshooting the Wild 85-55 over the first two contests. Corey Crawford made 25 saves in Chicago's 3-0 win in Game 4 for his second career playoff shutout. After Tuesday’s triumph and victories at home in the first two games, the Blackhawks have a chance to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. Chicago is 5-0-1 in its last six home contests against Minnesota, the one blemish coming in a 5-4 shootout loss on April 1, 2012. The Blackhawks are 47-12-11 at United Center - including playoffs - since the start of last season and went 4-1-0 in elimination games during their 2010 Stanley Cup championship run.TV
: 9:30 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS2, NBCSN, Fox Sports North, Fox Sports Wisconsin, Comcast Sportsnet ChicagoABOUT THE WILD
: Ryan Suter was nominated for the Norris Trophy on Tuesday as the league’s top defenseman along with Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang and Montreal’s P.K. Subban. Suter, who led the league in average ice time (27:16), played 30:23 on Tuesday - the third time in four games he reached 30 minutes in regulation. Suter has yet to record a point in the series after finishing the season with 32 - and has 13 points in 43 career postseason contests. Minnesota coach Mike Yeo would not commit to starting Kuemper in net for Game 5 as Harding and Backstrom both remain day-to-day with their respective injuries. Kuemper, who had a total of 288 minutes in net over six games during the regular season, has one NHL victory to his credit.ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS
: Patrick Sharp scored twice on Tuesday after also recording a pair in the third period of Game 2. Sharp, who was limited to 28 games and only six goals due to injuries during the regular season, leads the series with five points and has 27 career postseason tallies. Goaltender Ray Emery and Dave Bolland, who have missed the entire series with lower-body injuries, are doubtful for Game 5 despite practicing with the team this week. Bryan Bickell has scored in three of the four games, raising his career playoff total to seven goals and 10 points in 19 contests. Toews has yet to record a point in the series after entering the postseason with 50 points in 52 career games. OVERTIME
1. Chicago’s penalty killing has been flawless in 15 opportunities over the first four games.
2. Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu, who is minus-5 with eight penalty minutes, has been held off the scoresheet in each game of the series.
3. Wild RW Jason Pominville returned from a concussion on Tuesday and fired three shots in 12:12 time on ice.PREDICTION
: Blackhawks 6, Wild 3
Stats and Records