Corey Crawford made 34 saves, Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, and the Chicago Blackhawks advanced to the Western Conference finals with a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night at St. Paul, Minn., for a four-game sweep.
The Wild never led in the series. Goals by Jared Spurgeon and Nino Niederreiter with 2:18 and 1:27 remaining gave them one last shot, with their net emptied. The final few whacks were either wide or turned aside by Crawford, who stopped 124 of 131 shots in the four games.
Brent Seabrook and Andrew Shaw scored for the Blackhawks, who were down to five defensemen after a serious injury to veteran Michal Roszival. Marian Hossa had a long empty-netter, and Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell had two assists apiece.
Chicago eliminated Minnesota from the playoffs for the third straight year. It won 12 of the 15 games.
It was the first sweep by the Blackhawks since the Western Conference finals in 2010 against San Jose.
They improved to 30-0, including 5-0 in this postseason, when leading after two periods.
Devan Dubnyk made 21 saves for the Wild.
The Blackhawks have scored 12 times in the first period in 10 games this postseason, the key to keeping a firm grip on this series from start to finish.
Montreal 6, at Tampa Bay 2: Carey Price stopped 22 shots, Max Pacioretty had a short-handed goal and two assists as the Canadiens stayed alive in their second-round playoff series.
Pacioretty and Andrei Markov scored in the first as the Canadiens avoided a sweep with their first victory in nine games this season against the Lightning. Game 5 is Saturday night in Montreal, where Tampa Bay won the first two games of the series.
Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop allowed three goals on 14 shots before he was pulled a little over five minutes into the second period. Bishop had 30 saves in Tampa Bay's dramatic 2-1 victory on Wednesday night.
After Bishop was pulled, the Canadiens scored twice in their first three shots against backup Andrei Vasilevskiy.