With Chicago's top two stars, center and team captain Jonathan
Toews and left winger Patrick Kane, both out until the playoffs with
injuries, right winger Marian Hossa stepped up in a big way — and
one the Blackhawks desperately needed.
Hossa was the only player on either team to score in the shootout,
leading the Blackhawks to a 3-2 win, snapping Chicago's three-game
losing streak and Minnesota's two-game winning streak.
"The way we played our last three games, not coming up with
anything, it was important that we did things the right way — and
getting two points is what we're all about, so we needed that,"
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.
This was the first shootout win for the Blackhawks since Jan. 19 vs.
the Boston Bruins. The Blackhawks are now 6-8 in shootouts this
Ironically enough, it was Hossa's first successful goal in a
shootout situation this season and only the 17th in 53 attempts in
his career (32.1 percent).
At the same time, Hossa just returned to the Blackhawks on March 16
after missing two-plus weeks with an upper-body injury.
The win also pulled the Blackhawks closer to overtaking Colorado for
home-ice advantage in the first round of the upcoming playoffs.
Hossa was the only one of six players on either side to score in the
shootout. Failing to do so for Chicago were right wingers Patrick
Sharp and Ben Smith, while attempts by Minnesota left winger Zach
Parise, center Mikko Koivu and right winger Jason Pominville all
were stopped by Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford.
Chicago (43-19-15) finally got over the 100-point mark with the win
(now 101 points). Even with the loss, Minnesota (39-26-12) still won
the regular-season series from the Blackhawks, 3-2.
Despite the loss, Minnesota (39-26-12, 90 points) added one valuable
point that keeps it in the running for the still vacant seventh spot
in the upcoming Western Conference playoffs.
"I think that's a huge point for us," Wild coach Mike Yeo said.
"Obviously, would've liked to have gotten two but when you can get
points and you're not completely on top of things, then that's a
Chicago took a 2-1 lead early in the third period on left winger
Bryan Bickell's 11th goal of the season at 2:45.
"(The Wild are) a frustrating team to play against," Bickell said.
"They just shut it down in the middle and keep everything to the
outside, but we stuck with it. Nice to get a shootout win — we
haven't had many of those — and break that slump and move on to
It appeared that Bickell's goal would hold up as the game's deciding
factor until 1:54 remained in regulation. Minnesota left winger Erik
Haula scored his third goal of the season to tie the score at 2.
[to top of second column]
Crawford can't really be blamed on Haula's goal, as his vision was
screened by a couple of players, one from each team, who were
standing between him and Haula.
"They're a tough team to get something going against," Wild center
Kyle Brodziak said. "It took us until under two minutes left and
obviously (Haula) did a great job, put a good puck on net and it
found a way in. It was a huge goal for us. We'll take the point, but
knowing that we have to be a little better."
Minnesota scored the only goal of the first period when center
Charlie Coyle pushed his 11th of the season past Crawford at 14:19.
It was pretty clear how much the Blackhawks are missing Toews and
Kane. In the first period, Chicago managed to take just five shots
(Minnesota had nine).
Finally at 2:29 of the second period, Chicago tied the game on
Smith's 11th goal of the season.
Crawford (30-15-10) wound up stopping 25 shots, while Minnesota
goalie Ilya Bryzgalov (9-8-8) made 24 saves.
The Blackhawks remain three points behind Colorado in the race for
home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs after the
Avalanche defeated the New York Rangers on Thursday night.
NOTES: The Blackhawks announced in the opening minute of the game
that D Johnny Oduya was out due to a lower-body injury. "He's day to
day, but it's not serious," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said of
Oduya. Also on the scratch list by C Jonathan Toews (out for the
remainder of the regular season with an upper-body injury), LW Matt
Carey and LW Teuvo Teravainen. Minnesota listed nine players as
scratches, including D Keith Ballard, D Clayton Stoner, C Cody
McCormick, LW Mike Rupp, G Niklas Backstrom and G Darcy Kuemper. ...
The attendance was 21,791. ... LW Patrick Sharp was one of Chicago's
hottest goal-scorers before the Olympic break. However, in March,
Sharp scored just three goals, though he still led the team with
goals entering play Thursday. ... Mike Yeo earned his 100th win as
the Wild's head coach Monday in Los Angeles. ... Chicago plays the
Blue Jackets on Friday in Columbus. Minnesota hosts the Pittsburgh
Penguins on Friday.
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.