Rapid Reaction: Hawks 5, Wild 2
How it happened: The Hawks took control of the game in a three-goal second period, scoring twice on the power play to break a 1-1 first intermission tie. Dave Bolland had an assist and a score during the man-advantage time as did Jimmy Hayes. It was the second unit that came through for the home team. Twenty-three seconds after the first tally in the second, Jonathan Toews won a puck battle and found Viktor Stalberg for a goal and the Hawks never looked back. Andrew Shaw added a score back in the first, and the Hawks defense gave Ray Emery a relatively easy night, allowing just 23 shots on net. Not many were dangerous scoring chances. The Wild got first and third period rebound goals from Devin Setoguchi and Kyle Brodziak. Bolland added an empty netter to close out the game and a big night for him individually.
What it means: As Joel Quenneville likes to say, the Hawks are “trending” in the right direction. After bottoming out against Colorado, 4-0 recently, the Hawks have lost in overtime then beat Columbus in a close game until the third period, and now comes a resounding win against a playoff caliber opponent. Secondary scoring has been key as neither Toews, Kane or Hossa have goals in the last two wins. Stalberg set a career high with his 13th one game after earning his first career hat trick. And Bolland’s offense has come mostly on special teams. He scored his fifth power play goal of the year to go along with three shorthanded tallies. But Hayes and Shaw might be the best storyline. They’ve combined for five goals in their short time in the NHL, helping to take pressure off the stars. The Hawks improved to 26-13-5 while Emery is 10-3-2.
What’s next: The Hawks travel to Detroit for the first time on Saturday for a matinee after a practice day on Friday.