ONE GOAL: Patrick's Sharp, Crow is stellar- and the Hawks lead the Wild, 3 games to 1

I have to admit that I'm not looking forward to the Series Two, no matter who the Blackhawks end up playing. Anaheim, St. Louis, Detroit and Los Angeles are all considerably better teams than the Minnesota Wild, and I regard the Ducks and the Blues in particular as real threats to pull an upset.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. First, the Hawks have to close out Minnesota at the UC tomorrow night. Then the time will come to worry about the Blues or Kings.

Stupid penalties kept the Hawks shorthanded throughout much of last night's game, but the penalty killing unit rose to the occasion. Goalie Corey Crawford shut the Wild out, and Patrick Sharp scored two goals (the first, below). Brian Bickel scored the other.

Final: Chicago 3, Minnesota 0.

As Barry Melrose commented Sunday, the Hawks and the Penguins are in a class by themselves. But that's not to say that there aren't teams that are close. While I think it will be the Hawks and the Pens in the Finals, any of the Western Conference teams we're apt to face from here on out could pull an upset. I'm cautiously optimistic at this point. But the emphasis is on the word "cautiously."



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