ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Patrick Sharp scored a pair of goals, and Corey Crawford had 25 saves as the Chicago Blackhawks blanked the Minnesota Wild 3-0 Tuesday and took a commanding 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven playoff series.
Minnesota, which had breathed some life into the series with an overtime win on Sunday, dominated long stretches of the game Tuesday but could not solve Crawford. In contrast to the consistency in the Chicago goal, there was chaos in Minnesota's crease.
Wild starting goalie Josh Harding played the first 20 minutes, stopping five of the six shots he faced. But he was slow to get up after a first-period collision with Jonathan Toews, who cut to the net and collided with the goalie in the crease. Harding finished the period, but backup Darcy Kuemper started the second period.
The first playoff shot Kuemper ever faced is one he would like to forget. After a Wild turnover in the neutral zone just a minute into the middle period, Sharp corralled the puck and sent a harmless-looking shot on net that Kuemper missed, giving the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead.
Sharp also scored the first goal of the game, tipping a shot in front after Marian Hossa had intercepted Mikko Koivu's breakout pass. Sharp converted the turnover into an early Chicago lead.
The Wild had numerous chances to get back into the game via the power play, as the Blackhawks were whistled for six penalties. But Minnesota's man-advantage unit remained stymied, going 0-for-6 on the power play Tuesday and falling to 0-for-15 in the series.
Bryan Bickell added a goal -- his third of the series -- late in the third period for Chicago.
Game 5 of the series is Thursday night at United Center in Chicago.
NOTES: Niklas Backstrom, who started 41 of 48 regular season games for the Wild but was injured in warmups before the first playoff game, joined the team on the bench in uniform in the third period as an emergency replacement for Harding, but he did not play. ... Both teams got positive news in the NHL Awards category between Game 3 and Game 4. On Monday, Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad was named one of the three finalists for the Calder Trophy, given to the league's top rookie. Saad had 27 points in 47 games this season, and he started Tuesday's game on the team's top line. Earlier in the day on Tuesday, Wild defenseman Ryan Suter was named a Norris Trophy finalist, for the award given to the league's top defenseman. Suter, who came to Minnesota as a free agent last summer, led the league in playing time this season, averaging better than 27 minutes per game on the ice. ... Left wing Daniel Carcillo made his playoff debut for the Blackhawks after being a healthy scratch in the first three games of the series. Renowned as an agitator, Carcillo was called upon after the Wild played a much more physical style in winning Game 3. True to his reputation, Carcillo was whistled for an interference penalty in the opening period on Tuesday. ... The news about Suter's Norris candidacy softened the blow for Wild fans just a little bit after they were stung Monday when rookie defenseman Jonas Brodin was not named a finalist for the Calder. At 19, Brodin was the youngest defenseman in the NHL this season, and he led all rookies in takeaways and time on the ice.