Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 4, Wild 3 (SO)
Here's a quick look at the Blackhawks' shootout win against the Wild on Wednesday.
How it happened: Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane scored in the shootout while Ray Emery stopped both Wild shooters to inch the Hawks closer to the conference lead. The visitors never trailed in the game getting out to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals by Marian Hossa and Michael Frolik in the second period, but the Hawks gave those right back by playing sloppy with that adavantage. It was 2-2 after two. But Toews scored a beauty of a go-ahead goal in the third by going from baseline to slot around a defenseman and forcing goalie Niklas Backstrom down and out before scoring. Mikko Koivu tied it late in the period when Minnesota was applying pressure on a delayed penalty by the Hawks. The overtime was played even until the Hawks stars took over in the shootout.
What it means: If the Hawks had lost the game, even in the shootout, there’d be a different tone to the whole affair. The Wild aren’t the best offensive team and had played the night before, so when the Hawks got out to a 2-0 lead as well as a 3-2 advantage in the third, it should have been the visitors using all that to their advantage. Instead the Hawks were outshot 16-7 in the third period, an unacceptable total. However, the beat goes on as they do enough to get the win and improve to 19-8-4, now just two points behind Minnesota for the conference lead with a game in hand. Emery again showed he belongs in net for the moment, stopping 15 of those shots in the third only giving up a goal off teammate Nick Leddy. Toews and Kane were great in the shootout, Toews with his patented shot through the legs of the goalie while Kane tried a new, slow-down move which worked.
What’s next: The Hawks return home for a Friday date with the Anaheim Ducks and new coach Bruce Boudreau.