For the past three years, the Chicago Blackhawks have eliminated the Minnesota Wild from the NHL playoffs.

Wild Skate Past Blackhawks 4-1 For Sixth Straight Win

The Wild surged past the Blackhawks 4-1 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota on Tuesday night to extend Minnesota’s season-high winning streak to six games. Jared Spurgeon, Erik Haula and Nino Niederreiter all scored in the third period.

“When you have that confidence going into the playoffs, if you do happen to play in them, it’s huge,” Spurgeon said.

Marian Hossa scored the lone goal for the Blackhawks, who played without their top two defensemen: Brent Seabrook, who was out with an illness, and Duncan Keith, who was charged with a game penalty in the first period for swinging his stick at the Wild’s Charlie Coyle.

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Although the Blackhawks have already clinched their spot in the playoffs, they have now fallen to 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. They snagged only one point in five games against the Wild, in a shootout loss at home last week. The Wild (38-28-11) have now won all five games against the Blackhawks (44-26-7) this season, marking the first time a team has swept the Blackhawks in a series of five or more games since the Boston Bruins in 1939.

Minnesota goaltender Devan Dubnyk made 18 saves during the game. Jarret Stoll opened up scoring just 2:37 into the game on a break.

“When it counts is the playoffs. It’s great that we got that (sweep) in the regular season. I wasn’t here for the first two (wins), but we know how to play them,” Wild coach John Torchetti said. “They’ve played them [many] times plus the three years in the playoffs. We should know how to play them. Now if we get a chance and are fortunate enough to make the playoffs, that’s got to be our marker.”

Defenseman Spurgeon scored his career-high 11th goal on a breakaway at 4:07 of the third period to break a 1-1 tie. The Wild captain took a slick lead pass from Mikko Koivu and then maneuvered around Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to shoot the puck between Chicago goalie Scott Darling’s arm and leg and into the back of the net.

Darling made 18 saves for the Blackhawks, who have been without regular goalie Corey Crawford for the last seven games due to an upper-body injury.

“It’s not fun to look back and have a record like that against a team in your division, especially a team like Minnesota,” Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said. “It’s not something we’re happy about.”

The Blackhawks failed to score on three power plays, falling to 0 for 26 over their last nine games, while the Wild have killed 27 of their last 28 penalties in their last 11 games.

Niederreiter scored an empty-net goal with 1:19 remaining.

The Wild will next host the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, while the Blackhawks will visit the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.

Caption:DENVER, CO – MARCH 26: Mikkel Boedker #89 of the Colorado Avalanche controls the puck against Zach Parise #11 of the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center on March 26, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Wild defeated the Avalanche 4-0. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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