Hawks' penalty kill fails again in loss to Wild

December, 5, 2013
12/05/13
11:17
PM CT
By Brian M. Murphy
Special to ESPNChicago.com
Archive
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Chicago Blackhawks had done the heavy lifting Thursday night, roaring back from a two-goal deficit against the Minnesota Wild and poised to equal a team record for consecutive road wins that has remained untouched for 49 years.

[+] EnlargePatrick Sharp, Ryan Suter
AP Photo/Ann HeisenfeltThe Blackhawks failed to record a point in consecutive games for the first time this season as their penalty kill let them down again.
Only six minutes and one penalty kill stood in the way, but the Blackhawks tripped over the albatross that has hung around their necks all season, surrendering two goals in the final 5:39 and falling 4-3 at Xcel Energy Center.

Jonas Brodin scored the tying goal on the power play and Marco Scandella bagged the winner at 18:12 for the Wild, who appeared doomed after yielding goals in the final minute of the second period and opening minute of the third.

Scandella's long-range wrist shot sailed through traffic and past goalie Corey Crawford -- the defenseman’s first goal in 28 games, since Feb. 13 of last season.

Chicago failed to record a point in consecutive games for the first time this season following Tuesday’s 4-3 home loss to the Dallas Stars.

“Like the last game, we thought we had control and let it slip,” said captain Jonathan Toews. “It’s frustrating to give up points like we have the last couple games. It’s pretty simple. The effort’s still there. We’ve just got to be better.”

Chicago’s road winning streak ended at six games, one shy of the seven-game run Hall of Famers Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Glenn Hall led from Dec. 9-29, 1964.

The Blackhawks recorded a season-low 19 shots as Wild goalie Josh Harding, who leads the NHL with a 1.52 goals-against average, did just enough to improve his record to 15-4-3. And the penalty kill failed them again.

Chicago’s unit entered play ranked 29th, with a meager kill rate of 74 percent. The Wild converted two of their three man advantages Thursday.

“That was the differential tonight,” lamented Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville. “Last game we gave up another one. That’s probably the sorest issue right now. It was a game we had right where we wanted it. We needed a kill but we didn’t get it done.”

Brent Seabrook’s hooking penalty set up Brodin, whose shot from the right circle deflected off defenseman Johnny Oduya’s leg past Crawford. The goal re-energized the Wild, who were stunned by a three-goal Chicago surge that obliterated their 2-0 lead.

Jeremy Morin, recalled from AHL Rockford for the third time, scored with 16.6 seconds remaining in the second period. Brandon Saad knotted the game 43 seconds into the third and Marian Hossa picked the far corner on Harding at 6:35 of the final period to put the Blackhawks in command -- until they weren’t.

“It seems like right now we make mistakes at the end and it’s costing us,” said Hossa, who has three goals among six points in his past six games. “It was an up-and-down game. We got down, then we came back, then they won at the end. I think we just made a little more mistakes than they did.”

Crawford, who still leads the NHL with 17 wins, was uncharacteristically leaky. Including Brodin’s deflected shot, three of Minnesota’s four goals came from the perimeter.

“He’s got to be better,” Quenneville said curtly.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26