Wild for Winstreak: Hawks Chip Back into 6th
The Chicago Blackhawks were in Minnesota to play the Wild. Minnesota holds the 7th seed coming into the game, but the Hawks looked to steal the game and tiebreaker to move back into the playoff hunt with 20 games left on the season.
The Blackhawks came out firing, putting up 14 shots on goal in the first period. Duncan Keith had a few good looks and failed to convert. Minnesota goalie, Niklas Backstrom, had a solid period in the net. The game remained null all to end the first.
With Toews as the only Hawk to have a winning note on face-offs, the team finally capitalized 44 seconds into the 2nd period. Keith found Toews in position for a shot, but kicked one wide to Patrick Sharp to give Chicago the lead. About a minute into the line change, Brian Campbell took a prayer of a shot that was deflected, fought back for the puck to find the Wild out of position which eventually lead to Kopecky’s 12th goal of the season.
Toews also scored on a bad Minnesota pass, off a textbook one timer from Kane. The Blackhawks finished two with a 3-0 lead.
Minnesota did a great job controlling center ice and nabbing possession on many unforced errors. After failing to convert for most of the night, the Wild opened up the third on a breakaway goal by ex-Hawk, Martin Havlat.
After 2 solid power play kills, the Hawks showed signs of fatigue following a long game against Phoenix last night. The Wild gained momentum in the last 5 minutes, lead by a lot of sloppy Blackhawk defense in front of their own net. Brent Burns slapped one in to bring the Wild within one.
Off the third Blackhawks penalty of the third period, Jonathan Toews returned aggression on Wild ice and found Marian Hossa to give the Hawks a 4-2 lead. Hossa has scored in 4 straight games, after a long drought of his own.
Blackhawks win 4-2.
Toews finished with 1 goal on 3 shots and 2 assists to lead the Blackhawks back into 6th place in the Western Conference.
John Scott went after the Wild’s Brad Staubitz in the 2nd period after a late check. The one-sided fight could result in a suspension for Scott, pending NHL review. John Scott has not been a vital player this season, but the lost depth on defense could hurt.
Next game is back at the United Center on Wednesday, as the Blackhawks face the Calgary Flames. The Flames will come off a back-to-back against a struggling St. Louis team.