The sweep sends Chicago to their fifth Western Conference Final in the last seven years.
Both sides mostly just tested each other in the first period, and neither team took an advantage until Brent Seabrook fired a puck ten minutes in. The shot flicked off the leg of Wild defenseman Marco Scandella and careened over goalie Devan Dubnyk's shoulder to give Chicago its first lead of the night.
With momentum in hand, the Blackhawks struck again early in the second period. Chicago got the puck into the crease, and as the play collapsed, Dubnyk lost sight of the puck resting in front of him. Andrew Shaw slipped it by him for a 2-0 Blackhawks lead.
But when Michal Rozsival was injured a bit later in the period, things started to turn Minnesota's way. Once play resumed, the Wild assaulted Corey Crawford's crease and Erik Haula scored to bring his team within one goal of tying it.
And then Patrick Kane emerged. The Blackhawks winger scored his fourth goal in four games to restore the two-goal lead for Chicago, followed shortly by an empty-net goal by Marian Hossa. Minnesota made it interesting with two late goals, but it wasn't enough to stave off elimination.
3 things we learned
1. Goaltending was ultimately Minnesota's undoing
The Wild made the playoffs on the back of a netminder who could no wrong. Dubnyk was a midseason godsend, and off-nights for him were few and far between as they charged into the postseason. But he has been as inconsistent (though not entirely bad) as ever over the last few weeks, and unable to keep the Wild in games he usually had been. Thursday's loss was yet another instance of that.
2. Chicago's defense will be tested.
It's a good thing the Blackhawks roster is as deep as it is, because they're probably going to be without Rozsival for awhile. The veteran suffered a gruesome injury in the second period when he fell and twisted his ankle backwards. David Rundblad will most likely slot in for the rest of the playoffs, a not insignificant downgrade on their blueline.
3. Brandon Saad is fascinated by his hockey stick.