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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Blackhawks take 2-0 series lead over Wild

CHICAGO, IL. -- Chicago's Brandon Saad (Sahd) scored twice to lead the Blackhawks past the Minnesota Wild 4-1 in Game Two of their Western Conference semifinal series at the United Center in Chicago yesterday.  Bryan Bickell tallied a goal and two assists, while Jonathan Toews also lit the lamp for Chicago, which took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven set.  Corey Crawford made 18 saves in the victory.  Cody McCormick scored the lone goal in the third period for Minnesota, which hosts Game Three on Tuesday.  Ilya Bryzgalov allowed three goals on 21 shots in defeat.  Tomorrow's game starts at 8 p.m. at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.


Minnesota catcher Kurt Suzuki was 3-for-3 with three RBI to guide the Twins to a 5-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles at Target Field yesterday.  Trevor Plouffe  knocked in two runs for Minnesota, which won the final two games of the three-game series.  Phil Hughes allowed two runs in six-and-a-third innings for the win.  Glen Perkins locked up his seventh save.  Nelson Cruz hit a two-run homer for Baltimore.  Miguel Gonzalez allowed three runs in four-and-two-thirds innings.  Minnesota plays in Cleveland tonight.  The Indians lost the White Sox 4-3 yesterday.


The No. 12 University of Minnesota softball team beat Purdue 7-2 yesterday in West Lafayette.  Minnesota took two of three from the Boilermakers over the weekend to push the final Gopher regular season record to 38-and-9 overall and 16-and-6 in the Big Ten.  The .809 winning percentage is the best in program history.  The Gophers earned the No. 3 seed in this weekend's Big Ten Softball Tournament at Northwestern.  Minnesota received a first-round bye and will play on Friday morning against the winner of Thursday's Purdue-Indiana game. 


The Golden Gopher baseball team dropped its series finale at No. 4 Florida State 7-1.  Minnesota was swept in the three-game set, although the first two losses were by one run apiece.  The Gophers are now 22-and-19 overall.  Minnesota is now  and will host Augsburg tomorrow and Concordia-Moorhead on Wednesday.  Both games will be at Siebert Field.


The University of Minnesota men's golf team won the Big Ten championship yesterday, shooting a four-round score four-shots better than second-place Illinois.  Golden Gopher freshman Jose Mendez of San Jose, Costa Rica tied for individual medalist honors, firing a four-round score of one-over-par-289.  Minnesota senior Jon Trasamar of Blue Earth finished third in the tourney.  Minnesota earns an automatic invitation to the NCAA Tournament by winning its eighth Big Ten title in men's golf and first since 2007.


The WNBA Minnesota Lynx begin preseason play tonight against the Australian National Team at the Target Center.  The team will then head to Orlando for a preseason tournament starting Friday against Phoenix.  Chicago and Indiana will also participate in the tourney.  The Lynx open the regular season May 16th at Washington.  Minnesota has won two of the last three WNBA championships.


The first round of the NBA playoffs is history.  The Spurs dropped the Mavericks 119-96 yesterday in Game Seven to advance.  The Nets edged the Raptors 104-103 in another Game Seven.  The second round starts tonight as the Pacers host the Wizards and Thunder meet the Clippers.


The Houston Rockets' opening-round loss to the Trail Blazers will not have immediate consequences.  Multiple outlets report that Kevin McHale will be retained as the team's head coach.  McHale is 133-and-97 in three years with the Rockets, but has been knocked in the Western Conference quarterfinals two consecutive seasons.  McHale is a Hibbing native, a former Golden Gopher all-Big Ten player, and a former coach and front office man for the Minnesota Timberwolves.


The Big Ten and Big East are set to make a major men's basketball announcement today.  Several media outlets are reporting the two conferences will announce the formation of the "Gavitt Tipoff Games," which will start in 2015-16 and run through 2020.  The report indicates the games will be on the opening weekend of the season and feature eight teams from each conference matching up.  Teams will rotate through the schedule, so not all teams from each conference will take part each season.  The series will honor Basketball Hall of Famer and Big East founder Dave Gavitt.  The announcement is scheduled for today in New York City. 


After a longer wait this offseason, it's officially NFL Draft week.  The seven-round event gets underway Thursday night with the first round selections.  The Minnesota Vikings currently hold the eighth overall pick in the first round and have eight picks total.  Vikes general manager Rick Spielman will host a news conference tomorrow afternoon to discuss the upcoming draft.