The Minnesota Wild fell to the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0 Tuesday at the Xcel Energy Center in game four of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series.

The top seeded Blackhawks survived an early flurry from the Wild before taking over the game midway through the first period.

The Wild (1-3) took an early 6-1 edge in shots on goal, but Patrick Sharp scored the first of his two goals at the 8:48 mark of the first period.

Mikko Koivu tried to spring Zach Parise with a pass up the boards for a rush, but Marian Hossa intercepted it. He fed Michal Handzus for a shot in the slot the was re-directed into the net by Sharp.

"It's the right play by him (Koivu)," Parise said. "If that gets through, we have a 2-on-1 and unfortunately it didn't."

The wind seemed to go out of the sails of the Wild when Josh Harding was injured while getting run into by Jonathan Toews late in the first period. He stayed in the game, but was replaced by Darcy Kuemper at the start of the second period.

His first test came from Sharp and the Blackhawks scorer recorded his series leading fourth goal. He intercepted a pass from Parise just outside the Wild's blue line and fired a shot through the rookie goaltender from the top of the circles.

Bryan Bickell put the game on ice with a bad angle shot over the shoulder of Kuemper at the 12:46 mark of the third period.

The Wild had opportunities to turn the game around with six power play chances, but could not muster more than seven shots. In the series, the Wild have yet to score a power play goal.

"Things like that change," Joel Quenneville said. "We want to make sure we are on top of it. This year penalty killing is one of our strengths. Let's continue to try to do the right things and stick together and move as a unit."

Parise scored a goal in game three, but he and Koivu have been non-existent through the first four games. They have minus-six and minus-five ratings respectively.

"We've got to score," Parise said. "That's no secret."

Quenneville is waiting for it to happen.

"I still think there is some production coming," he said. "We have to make an awareness to their top line when they are out there. Their dangerous off the rush and in the zone."

Mike Yeo did not have an update of Harding's status after the game, but Niklas Backstrom finished the game as Kuemper's backup. Game five is Thursday at the United Center slated to start at 8:30.

Three Stars

No. 3 – Johnny Oduya. The Blackhawks defenseman blocked five shots.

No. 2 – Patrick Sharp. The Blackhawks forward scored two goals.

No. 1 – Corey Crawford. The Blackhawks goaltender stopped 25 shots.


Chicago……..1 1 1 – 3

Minnesota…..0 0 0 – 0

First Period – 1, Chicago, Sharp 3 (Handzus, Hossa), 8:48. Penalties – Handzus, Chi (interference), 1:06; Carcillo, Chi (interference), 10:13; Spurgeon, Min (tripping), 16:42.

Second Period – 2, Chicago, Sharp 4 (unassisted), 1:02. Penalties – Oduya, Chi (cross checking), 4:26; Roszival, Chi (interference), 11:17.

Third Period – 3, Chicago, Bickell 3 (Shaw), 12:46. Penalties – Kane, Chi (delay of game), 1:08; Saad, Chi (tripping), 3:16; Coyle, Min (cross checking), 9:45.

Shots on goal – Chicago 6-11-7 24. Minnesota 7-6-12 25.

Goalies – Chicago, Crawford (25-25). Minnesota, Harding (5-6), Kuemper (16-18). A – 19,378. Referees – Stephen Walkom, Greg Kimmerly. Linesmen – Mark Wheler, Steve Miller.