CHICAGO (AP) -- The Minnesota Wild are suddenly unbeatable on the
Before starting its current streak with a win at Vancouver on
Thursday night, Minnesota had dropped 11 consecutive games on the
road. The Wild hadn't won three straight road games since last
"I think the game in Vancouver was huge," Minnesota's Wes Walz
said. "After we got that win, there was such a relief around our
room to get the monkey off our back.
"I squeeze my stick all the time, but even our skilled guys
were squeezing their sticks. Getting that win, guys starting
playing more loose and more relaxed."
The Wild, who also won at Edmonton on Friday night, might have
gotten lucky on Sunday in handing the Blackhawks their sixth
straight loss. A possible shootout goal by Denis Arkhipov,
Chicago's third shooter, was disallowed after a video review.
Minnesota goalie Manny Fernandez stopped the shot, then it nearly
trickled over the goal line.
"That was a goal," Chicago coach Denis Savard said. "We've
got it on our TV. Why? Ask the NHL. I've got no idea. It doesn't
make any sense.
"The puck is this much in," Savard added, gesturing a two-inch
gap between his fingers. "The referees said it was a goal."
Fernandez, who had 38 saves, disagreed.
"I didn't think it went in," Fernandez said. "The play ends
when the puck stops moving and I've got control of it."
"We'll take the two points," Walz said. "We've had a couple
of breaks on some goals in overtime."
With Minnesota trailing 3-1, Gaborik scored short-handed late in
the second period and Walz connected midway through the third to
tie the score.
Gaborik, playing for the fifth time after missing 34 games due
to a strained groin, got his fifth goal in the last three games.
Barker, recalled earlier in the day from Norfolk of the AHL,
scored on a 5-on-3 power play for his first NHL goal.
The Blackhawks are 1-7-1 in their last nine games, immediately
following a 9-3-3 run after Denis Savard took over as coach on Nov.
Barker's goal snapped Chicago's 0-for-11 slump on the power
play, and was the Blackhawks' third in 21 5-on-3 advantages this
season. Chicago has only three power-play goals in its last 44
Chicago's Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 24 shots in his 18th
After a scoreless first period, Ruutu and Havlat scored 29
seconds apart in the opening minute of the second to give Chicago a
Ruutu had his first goal in 13 games just 30 seconds into the
period. After his initial shot was blocked, he slid a second
attempt underneath Fernandez's pads. Havlat made it 2-0 when he
took Duncan Keith's crisp feed from the left point and tucked in a
Bouchard pulled Minnesota to 2-1 at 1:36. He stole the puck from
Chicago defenseman Dustin Byfuglien and then fired a shot between
Barker made it 3-1 on the two-man advantage with 8:05 left in
the second. He connected from the right circle, beating Fernandez
on the stick side.
Gaborik's short-handed goal with 3:14 left in the period pulled
the Wild within one, and Walz tied the score at 7:55 of the third.
During a power play in overtime, Arkhipov was stopped
point-blank by Fernandez and then hit the post with the rebound.
The Blackhawks placed defenseman and captain Adrian Aucoin
on injured reserve with a pulled groin. Aucoin, suffered the injury
Wednesday against Buffalo and didn't play Saturday night at
Detroit. He missed 11 games earlier this season with the same
condition. To take Aucoin's place, the Blackhawks recalled Barker
from Norfolk. Sunday's game was Barker's second in the NHL. ...
Chicago RW Adam Burish missed his second game with an elbow injury.
D Lasse Kukkonen was a healthy scratch. ... Minnesota D Kim Johnson
sat out his second game with a lower body injury. RW Mark Parrish
missed his third, also with a lower body injury. LW Derek Boogaard
sat out his third with a head injury.