CHICAGO -- After the Minnesota Wild were eliminated by the Chicago Blackhawks in last season's Western Conference quarterfinals, coach Mike Yeo lamented that the main reason his team lost four of theseries' five games was too many mental mistakes.
While they have advanced one round farther this year than last, little has apparently changed for Minnesota since then. Mistakes once again dogged the Wild as the Blackhawks cashed in with a 5-2 win on Friday night in the opening game of the Western Conference semifinal series.
"(Minnesota) played well," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was like one of those games that we're probably fortunate (to win) and certainly gets your attention."
As has been a tradition that began after every win in last year's playoffs, the scoreboard at Chicago's United Center home flashed how many wins the Blackhawks need for their second Stanley Cup championship in a row and third in the last five seasons.
That number is now 11.
Right winger Patrick Kane and left winger Bryan Bickell led the Blackhawks with two goals each, along with a goal by right winger Marian Hossa.
"I think you take every game as a new challenge and you try to show up every night, especially in the playoffs," Kane said. "These games are so important that you can't do something one night and then sit down and relax and be happy with yourself. You try to get better every night."
Chicago has now won five games in a row in this year's playoffs (5-2 overall) and is 4-0 at the United Center. Game 2 will be televised nationally Sunday afternoon on NBC-TV (3 p.m. ET) in Chicago before the series moves to Minnesota for Games 3 and 4 next week.
Minnesota, which defeated Colorado in overtime in Game 7 to advance to the second round, is now 1-4 on the road and 4-4 overall in eight playoff games thus far.
"There were some good moments, but trust me, we're not happy with our game tonight," Yeo said. "I felt that we didn't have everybody at the level that we needed to be at, so we'll rectify that. We recognize that they'll be better next game and with that, we'll make sure that we're better, too."
Minnesota's myriad mistakes began in the first period when defenseman Jonas Brodin received a four-minute high-sticking penalty against Hossa at 13:09 of the first period.
It took Chicago just over 90 seconds to capitalize on the man-advantage as Bickell slammed home his third goal of the playoffs past Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov at 14:48.
With Brodin again in the penalty box for the same high-sticking call midway through the second period, Chicago capitalized again on the power play. Hossa scored his second goal of the playoffs a little over a minute later at 11:21, putting the Blackhawks ahead 2-0.
Minnesota ended the shutout at 2:19 of the third period when defenseman Clayton Stoner scored his first goal of the playoffs on a slap shot past Chicago goalie Corey Crawford.
The Wild tied the score at 6:56 on a perfect centering pass through the crease from center Erik Haula to fellow center Kyle Brodziak, who delivered his team co-leading third goal of the postseason.
But that tie lasted less than two minutes as Kane scored his team-leading fourth goal of the playoffs at 8:22.
And then as if to add insult to injury, Kane scored again at 16:47, followed by Bickell's second goal of the game, an empty-netter at 17:19 to seal the outcome.
"It was nice to get a couple tonight, especially in the third when it was 2-2, but this one's over and you try to get better every night and keep chipping in," Kane said.
Although Minnesota outshot Chicago 32-22, Crawford once again rose to the occasion for the Blackhawks, stopping all but two of the Wild's offerings.
"We didn't capitalize when we needed to and they scored on their power plays and we didn't," Minnesota left winger Zach Parise said. "I think that was the difference right there, the special teams."
Bryzgalov, meanwhile, stopped just 17 of Chicago's shots.
Minnesota came into the game with definite goalie problems. Normal starter Darcy Kuemper did not play Friday because of what the team called an upper-body injury.
But several media reports from the Twin Cities indicate that he suffered a concussion in Game 7 of the first round series with Colorado. If true, that would be the second concussion Kuemper has sustained in a month.
Bryzgalov, who relieved Kuemper in Game 7 against Colorado, is now 1-3 in the playoffs with a goals-against average of 4.35. As one Chicago radio station reporter said, "The Blackhawks aren't saying it, but they're probably licking their chops right now."
NOTES: Chicago C Andrew Shaw left early in the second period with a lower body injury and did not return. Quenneville said Shaw is day to day. ... The NHL announced that Chicago D Duncan Keith, Boston forward Patrice Bergeron and San Jose forward Brent Burns are finalists for the 2013-14 NHL Foundation Player Award. ... Attendance Friday was 22,116. ... Chicago forward Patrick Kane has scored the most goals in the NHL since the 2009 postseason (34), including his two Friday night. ... Chicago goalie Corey Crawford's career playoff record is now 26-17 with three shutouts, a 2.03 GAA and a .926 save percentage in 43 appearances. His 26 wins rank fourth all time in Blackhawks history. ... With his assist on Stoner's goal, Minnesota left winger Zach Parise now has 11 points in the playoffs. ... This is the first time the Wild have reached the second round of the NHL playoffs since 2003.