First period wrap: Hawks 2, Wild 1

The Chicago Blackhawks lead the Minnesota Wild 2-1 after the first period at the United Center.

The score is much closer than the play on the ice would indicate. The Hawks -- in particular their top line -- came out on fire, putting relentless pressure on Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom.

It all started after Corey Crawford gave up a weak goal to Marty Havlat, who put a wrist shot past the Hawks goalie from the circle to the right of Crawford. With no traffic and a short side to work with, Crawford should have made the save.

But the Hawks responded quickly with a power-play goal by Patrick Sharp. As has happened so often this season, it was Patrick Kane setting up Sharp on the far side of the goaltender for an open net score.

The Hawks continued the pressure with numerous great scoring chances finally getting another goal when Troy Brouwer put in a goalmouth scramble. Brouwer had missed earlier on a backhand try on the doorstep with Backstrom down and out but the Wild goalie recovered in time to make the save.

The Hawks killed off a 47-second, 5-on-3 power play by Minnesota after Nick Boynton and Dave Bolland took penalties.