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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Blackhawks defeat Wild, move on to Conference Finals

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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Blackhawks defeat Wild, move on to Conference Finals
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ST. PAUL -- Chicago forward Patrick Kane took advantage of a strange bounce of the puck off of the backwall and buried the game-winning goal in overtime to push the Blackhawks to a 2-1 win and a 4-2 series victory.  The defending Stanley Cup champs move on to the NHL Western Conference finals.  Minnesota's lone goal came in the second period off the stick of Erik Haula.  That tally tied the game at 1-1, which it remained until Kane's heroics.  Kane's backhanded, game-winning shot came after the puck ricocheted off the backwall right in front of the net.  Chicago netminder Corey Crawford stood tall to make 34 saves in the win.  Erik Haula tied the score for Minnesota early in the second period.  Ilya Bryzgalov (ILL-yuh breez-GAH-lahv) stopped 25 shots for the Wild, who were looking to force a Game Seven.

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Here are the results for the NHL Western Conference Semifinal best-of-seven series between the Minnesota Wild and the Chicago Blackhawks:

Game One (Friday 5/2):  Chicago 5, Minnesota 2 (CHI leads series 1-0) Game Two (Sunday 5/4):  Chicago 4, Minnesota 1 (CHI leads series 2-0) Game Three (Tuesday 5/6):  Minnesota 4, Chicago 0 (CHI leads series 2-1) Game Four (Friday 5/9):  Minnesota 4, Chicago 2 (series tied 2-2) Game Five (Sunday 5/11):  Chicago 2, Minnesota 1 (CHI leads series 3-2) Game Six (Tuesday 5/13):  Chicago 2, Minnesota 1 (overtime) (CHI wins series 4-2)

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The Minnesota Twins scored five run in the second inning off of Boston starter Jake Peavy to secure an early lead, but needed a two-run Chris Parmelee home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the defending champion Red Sox 8-6 at Target Field last night.  Minnesota held leads of 5-1 and 6-2 before Boston rallied to tie the game at 6-6 in the seventh.  That set up Parmelee's first home run of the year and first-ever big league walk-off long ball.  He finished the night 3-for-4 at the plate.  Glen Perkins notched the win after working a scoreless top of the ninth inning.  Twins starter Ricky Nolasco worked six innings of three-run ball and got a no-decision.  Boston's David Ortiz hit a pair of homers against his former team.  The Twins are now 18-and-19 on the year, while Boston is 19-and-19.  The same two teams play tonight.

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Here are the scheduled pitching pairings for the remaining two games of the three-game series between the Twins and Red Sox at Target Field in downtown Minneapolis (Twins pitcher listed first):

Wednesday - Kevin Correia (1-4, 6.34 ERA) vs. Felix Doubront (1-3, 5.09 ERA) Thursday - Phil Hughes (4-1, 3.92 ERA) vs. Clay Buchholz (2-3, 6.44 ERA)

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Minnesota Lynx power forward Rebekkah Brunson underwent arthroscopic knee surgery yesterday to help relieve problems associated with tendonitis and will be out indefinitely.  The six-foot-two-inch forward averaged 11-points and nine-rebounds per game last year in helping the Lynx to the WNBA title.  Star player Lindsay Whalen says everyone will have to do a little bit more to make up for the loss of Brunson.  Whalen says she hopes to concentrate on rebounding from her guard position to help make up some ground.  Minnesota also waived guard Christina Foggie, who was a second-round draft choice this past spring. Minnesota opens the regular season on Friday night in Washington.

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The Minnesota Vikings announce the addition of 15 undrafted free agents to their roster, while also releasing four players from their roster.  Simoni Lawrence, a former Gopher linebacker, was cut yesterday, as were linebacker Terrell Manning, running back Bradley Randle, and guard Josh Samuda.  Added to the team were offensive guard Conor Boffeli (buh-FELL-ee) of Iowa, offensive tackle Pierce Burton of Ole Miss, all purpose player Kain Kolter of Northwestern, defensive end Rakim Cox of Villanova, defensesive tackle Isame Faciane of Florida International, receiver Donte Foster of Ohio, offensive tackle Matt Hall of Belhaven, center Zac Kerin of Toledo, tight end AC Leonard of Tennessee State, receiver Erik Lora of Eastern Illinois, quarterback Travis Partridge of Missouri Western, offensive tackle Antonio Richardson of Tennessee, defensive end Tyler Scott of Northwestern, defensive end Jake Snyder of Virginia, and running back Dominique Williams of Wagner.

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 The NFL could be prepared to lessen its penalty for use of marijuana and other drugs.  ESPN reports that the league is preparing to finalize a new policy which would increase the threshold for a positive test for pot and reduce punishments for such violations.  The new rules would be in effect too late to help players like Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, who faces a reported eight-to-16 game suspension for his recent infraction.  The renegotiated policy would also include testing for human growth hormone.

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