Finns get Wild back into series against Blackhawks

Wild forward Mikael Granlund (64) celebrates his goal with Zach Parise (11) and defenceman Jonas...

Wild forward Mikael Granlund (64) celebrates his goal with Zach Parise (11) and defenceman Jonas Brodin (25) during third period action against the Blackhawks in Game 3 of their playoff series in St. Paul, Minn., on Tuesday, May 6, 2014. (Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:40 AM ET

ST. PAUL, MINN. - Not Finnished yet these Minnesota Wild.

With their playoff hopes on the verge of being point of desperation, the Wild needed somebody to step up and make the difference in the third period of Tuesday's crucial clash with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Erik Haula and Mikael Granlund -- a pair of youngsters from Finland -- provided the punch that led the Wild to a 4-0 win and into the win column in the Stanley Cup playoff series.

“Now it's a new series again,” Granlund said. “That first goal was huge for us. It opened up the game a lot. We were playing against a really good team and the first goal is really big in these games.”

Chicago still leads the best-of-seven series 2-1 with Game 4 slated for Friday in Minnesota.

Or, make that Finnesota based on the night's heroes.

After much ado about nothing through the first two periods, Haula finally gave the Xcel Energy Center record crowd of 19,416 a reason to erupt 101 seconds into the third period.

Until that point, he had the best scoring chance for the Wild, but couldn't get off a shot on a shorthanded breakway, although the tug of his arm by Chicago's Duncan Keith played a huge part.

“I just kept thinking in my head I hope I get another chance to bury one,” Haula said. “And Fonzie (Justin Fontaine) made a great play for me to do that.”

A couple of minutes later, the shifty Granlund doubled the lead, and the hosts were off and running.

Granlund also rounded the scoring with an empty netter, a huge night for the dynamic young duo.

“You see how important they are for our team, but also how much better they're getting, even in this post-season,” said Zach Parise. “They've been so good for us at such big times in the games, and I think they're just going to get better. It's fun and I'm sure they're going to get better, too.”

Parise also scored, netting a power-play goal that made it 3-0 with a couple of minutes left.

The Blackhawks pushed to claw back, awaking from their slumber when the deficit was at two, but Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov held strong against the onslaught, at his best when Chicago captain Jonathan Toews broke through the scrum for a wide-open shot from the slot.

Bryzgalov ended with 19 saves for his first playoff shutout in eight years.

“Thanks for reminding me,” he said. “It's obviously nice, but I just enjoy winning the game.

“Today was a tremendous team effort. We played nice hockey. We tried to avoid big mistakes.”

For the Blackhawks, it was a missed opportunity to take a big stranglehold.

“It just comes down to, at the end of the day, we hung around a couple periods where we were kind of waiting to see what would happen,” Keith said. “We didn’t have that killer instinct tonight that we’re going to need.”

The Wild, and all the faithful in the State of Hockey, had some tense moments when big-minute defenceman Ryan Suter left the game late in the second period after becoming entangled with Marian Hossa and landed awkwardly on his arm as he crashed to the ice.

However, Suter returned following the intermission and appeared none the worse for wear.

“To be honest, I didn't even know he left,” Parise said. “I didn't know until after the intermission. But he seemed fine, so I didn't think too much about it.”

Their mind is now on trying to find a way to even the series.

“We knew that we had to win this game. We can't fall down 3-0 against that team,” Wild head coach Mike Yeo said. “We know we've got another really big challenge. We're not sitting here patting ourselves on the back. We know that we're still not leading the series, they are, so our goal is to come back and even it up.”

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