The Chicago Blackhawks lost to the Minnesota Wild 3-2 in a shootout on Wednesday night. The Hawks will continue on their 6 game road trip when they play their biggest rival the Vancouver Canucks in what should be a nasty game on Friday.
The Minnesota Wild would get on the scoreboard early when Matt Cullen scored just ninety seconds into the game. But it wouldn’t take long for the Hawks to answer when Andrew Shaw got the Hawks on the board. Bryan Bickell brought the puck from the side crashing towards the net and passed the puck to the front of the net where Shaw slammed the puck past Josh Harding five minutes into the first period. The Hawks would score ninety seconds later when Jonathan Toews beat Harding five hole from the slot. In a stunning but justified move, Mike Yeo pulled Harding and replaced him with Niklas Backstrom.
After the offensive fireworks of the first seven minutes the game settled down. At the end of the first period the Hawks had to kill off a 5 on 3 which they were successful in. Corey Crawford made a spectacular diving save to keep the Hawks in the lead. The Wild would tie the game a minute into second period when Cal Clutterbuck tipped in a Tom Gilbert shot. The game would feature up and down action for the rest of the game but no goals. The Hawks outshot the Wild 25-10 over the last two periods and overtime but could not get that elusive goal. The spectacular penalty killing continued as the Hawks killed off another penalty in the final two minutes of the game to get to overtime.
In the shootout Zach Parise would lead off the scoring for the wild with a nifty double deke where Crawford bit on the first deke. Toews would tie the game with a nifty move as well as he slid the puck through the five hole of Backstrom. In the second round Crawford would get his glove on Mikko Koivu. On the other side, Patrick Kane tried to go backhand but Backstrom got his pad on the puck. Cullen would score in the third round when he beat Crawford five hole with a wrist shot. For the Hawks, Patrick Sharp would beat Backstrom but hit the crossbar to give Minnesota the victory.
What it means
The Hawks can no longer go undefeated in the season. But the Hawks were able to get one point out of the game which is a good start for the road trip. The Hawks penalty kill was great again as they had to kill a 5 on 3 and one in the last two minutes of the game. On the season the Hawks are now 26 for 27 on the penalty kill.
3 stars of the game
3. Jonathan Toews- Toews continued his strong start to the season with one goal. He also scored in the shootout and was his usual self providing great two way play. Toews went 13 for 23 on faceoffs.
2. Matt Cullen- Cullen had a great game as he scored a goal. He also was perfect in the faceoff circle and blocked one shot. In the shootout Cullen scored the game winner.
1. Niklas Backstrom- It’s not often that the backup goalie gets the number one star. But Backstrom entered the game down 2-1 with the Hawks on fire. All Backstrom did was stop 28 shots and shut out the Hawks the rest of the way. Entering the game down 2-1 and fending off a high powered Blackhawks attack is worthy of the number one star.