ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Wild took a two-game deficit and a scoreless tie into the second intermission, clinging tenuously to their chance of climbing back into this Western Conference semifinal series with the Chicago Blackhawks.
After a couple of quiet games and two sluggish periods, Mikael Granlund, Zach Parise and the rest of the Wild’s skill-position players snapped to life.
Granlund scored twice, Parise had a goal and an assist, and Erik Haula jump-started the Wild by scoring early in the third period in a 4-0 victory over the Blackhawks in Game 3 Tuesday night.
Falling behind by three games would’ve been devastating against the defending Stanley Cup champions, but the Wild have been here before. They rallied in January after coach Mike Yeo’s job was in jeopardy. They surged through April to clinch the first wild-card spot. They won four of the last five games in the previous round to overtake the Colorado Avalanche, getting four tying goals to force overtime and eventually win Game 7 of that series.
“I just kind of expect it, to be honest with you,” Yeo said. “That’s the leadership we have.”
Ilya Bryzgalov made 19 saves for his first shutout in the playoffs in eight years, and the Blackhawks had their lead whittled to 2-1 with their first loss in 2½ weeks.
“Today is a tremendous team effort,” Bryzgalov said. “We play very, very, very nice hockey.”
Game 4 is Friday in Minnesota.
The announced attendance of 19,416 was the most in franchise history, but the atmosphere didn’t match that until shortly after the second intermission. Pucks were whizzing way wide of the net, and clogged shooting lanes led to plenty of thwarted opportunities for both sides.
“They’re probably as tight a team as we’re going to play all year,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.