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Goalie wins to power-play goals: Five Things from Game 3

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Goalie wins to power-play goals: Five Things from Game 3

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Blackhawks have gotten victories a few different ways against the Minnesota Wild.

They’ve won the back-and-forth game. They’ve won the big-scoring game. On Tuesday they won with the goaltending-and-defense game. And all the ways they’ve won have them with a big 3-0 second-round series lead on the Minnesota Wild.

Corey Crawford stopped all 30 shots he faced in the Blackhawks’ 1-0 victory over the Wild, and now Minnesota faces the must-win Game 4 on Thursday night. There’s no doubt the Wild is going to throw everything at the Blackhawks and Crawford, who collected his fourth postseason shutout on Tuesday night.

[MORE: Crawford, Blackhawks shut out Wild in Game 3]

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Before we call it a night at Xcel Energy Center, let’s look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ Game 3 victory over the Wild.

1. Crawford collects a “goalie win.”

That’s coach Joel Quenneville’s phrase for it, and it fit on Tuesday. When Crawford struggles, he looks shaky and his rebound control is suspect. There were nosuch issues on Tuesday. Crawford didn’t allow many rebounds; if he did, the Blackhawks cleared them quickly. Said Patrick Kane, “he’s big in the net. He seems to react really well to pucks and he’s been great throughout the whole year and years past. I think we have all the confidence in the world in him.”

2. Kane does it again.

Kane, who’s now about 10 weeks removed from that fractured left clavicle, just keeps having a stellar postseason. His power-play goal tonight was his sixth goal of the postseason and seventh career playoff goal against the Wild. Kane is on a six-game point streak, with five goals and three assists in that time. Said Quenneville, “he has a hot stick, he’s dangerous. I think he gives a lot of different looks for the goalies. They don’t know where it’s coming off his stick and it has some torque on it as well.”

[SHOP: Get a Patrick Kane jersey here]

3. Defense keeps improving.

The Blackhawks’ team defense was not only giving up a lot of shots early this postseason, they were giving up a lot of quality opportunities. They’ve cut down on both, especially in the last 10 games. The Blackhawks have stymied the Wild, who have just one goal in their last seven periods. Said Duncan Keith, ““You have to be able to win all different ways. It’s a great hockey team over there. Nothing’s been given to us.”

4. The penalty kill comes through, too.

We joked that the Blackhawks basically went on a 20-minute kill in the third period in Game 3. Hey, it seemed that way. But the three times the Blackhawks did go on the kill, they looked good. The Wild didn’t get a shot on their first and third power plays, and Crawford stopped three shots on their second advantage. “We had some timely kills, some disruptions on entries, blocks, clears,” Quenneville said. “There were some real desperate kills by our group, particularly that last one.”

5. In the driver’s seat?

It would be easy to think this series is over, the Blackhawks being great at closing things out when they have sizeable series leads. But they’re also a group that’s been around long enough to know that the Wild isn’t going to go away quietly. The Blackhawks expect the Wild to come with its biggest push on Thursday night. “It’s nice but at the same [time] we can’t be complacent or let up,” Crawford said. “That team is going to play even harder next game. We’ve got to do the same thing.”

2019 NHL Draft Profile: D Bowen Byram

2019 NHL Draft Profile: D Bowen Byram

From June 10-20, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile one top prospect per day — 11 total — leading up to the 2019 NHL Draft as the Blackhawks prepare to pick third overall.

Bowen Byram

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 193 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report from Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley:

"He's had an outstanding year. Second half of the year he's really been outstanding. He really kind of drew a lot of attention to himself. Well-deserved. He's a dynamic player and he affects the outcome of a game."

Byram describes his own game:

On Duncan Keith comparisons: "I would say that’s pretty accurate. He’s a really energetic guy, good on both sides of the puck, kills penalties, runs the power play. That’s kind of how I’d describe myself, for sure. That’s definitely a fair comparison."

NHL player comparable: Duncan Keith

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks have used their last three first-round picks on defensemen, but positional needs aren't a priority when you're drafting this high — although, in the grand scheme of things, it's a pressing need despite the overflow of defensemen in the pipeline. TSN's Craig Button has said multiple times on the Hawks Talk Podcast that Byram is a future No. 1 defenseman in the NHL, and he would immediately become the top prospect in the organization.

Byram, known for his swagger and two-way game, has drawn comparisons to Drew Doughty and Keith, both of whom have won a Norris Trophy — Keith has two. More importantly, Doughty and Keith also have their names on the Stanley Cup multiple times and were both driving forces during those title runs. These are the types of defensemen you win championships with.

Byram set records in the Western Hockey League as a 17-year-old, and he could probably step into the pros immediately. But that's asking a lot for a defenseman, so he'd be more likely to become an everyday NHL player starting in 2020-21.

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2019 NHL Draft Profile: C Trevor Zegras

2019 NHL Draft Profile: C Trevor Zegras

From June 10-20, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile one top prospect per day — 11 total — leading up to the 2019 NHL Draft as the Blackhawks prepare to pick third overall.

Trevor Zegras

Position: Center
Height: 6-foot-0
Weight: 169 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report from Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley:

"Trevor is a high skilled centerman, very good skater, very, very creative, comfortable and creative with the puck."

Zegras describes his own game:

On his creativity: "I think growing up, watching a bunch of guys in the NHL like Patrick Kane mess around the ice, just something I’ve always done as a little kid. Maybe I rolled into the driveway and work on fun passes. It’s what I’m really good at."

NHL player comparable: Patrick Kane

Fit for Blackhawks:

Talk to any player on USA Hockey's National Team Development Program and they'll say Zegras was the most offensively gifted player of the group, which is saying a lot when you consider some of the names he's up against (Matthew Boldy, Cole Caufield, Jack Hughes, Alex Turcotte, to name a few).

At the NHL scouting combine, Zegras mentioned Kane several times as somebody he tries modeling his game after. The vision, the passing, the skating, the playmaking ability, the hockey IQ. He has it all offensively, and also doesn't get enough credit for his two-way game.

Zegras is somebody that has quickly been rising on draft boards, and it's because he has the potential to be a 90-point player in the NHL as a center. His name has been discussed by the Blackhawks at No. 3 and he's certainly a tempting option. Pair Zegras with Kane for the next decade and it's scary to think about the numbers the two could put up together.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.