Rapid Reaction: Wild 5, Hawks 4
April, 1, 2012
By Jesse Rogers
CHICAGO -- A quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 5-4 shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday at the United Center.
How it happened: Devin Setoguchi scored the game winner in the shootout after the Hawks fought back from a 4-2 deficit. Though it was a back-and-forth game, the home team never led. The Hawks got down 2-1 after one period and 4-3 after two but tied it on Patrick Kane's power-play goal late in the contest. Defensive breakdowns and shaky goaltending helped incur the damage as Setoguchi, Dany Heatley, Clayton Stoner and Kyle Brodziak all scored for Minnesota. Stoner’s goal was his first this season. For the Blackhawks, Patrick Sharp scored in the first period and Viktor Stalberg briefly tied the game in the second, but Stoner and Brodziak’s goals came 20 and 61 seconds after Stalberg’s. Those were the back-breakers. Kane’s goal midway through the second period pulled the Hawks within one before he scored again in the third.
What it means: For the second straight night the Hawks played sloppy on defense. A little bit of everything contributed to their woes and this time it was against the worst offense in the NHL. Minnesota hadn’t scored four (non shootout) goals in exactly a month. They got to four before the game was halfway over. Ray Emery was just a little less than sharp, but, once again, men were open in front of him and pucks weren’t cleared in time. That’s eight goals (before the shootout) given up in two nights. But the Hawks’ own resiliency on offense is reminiscent of their play midseason when they outscored teams to earn big wins -- though their defensive issues at the time came back to haunt them when that offense dried up. Duncan Keith returns from his suspension on Thursday and it might be at about the right time for the Hawks to shore things up before the playoffs.
What’s next: The Hawks are off until taking on the Wild again on Thursday, this time in St. Paul.