For the fourth straight game, the Minnesota Wild scored at least five goals as they demolished the Chicago Blackhawks 6-1 on Sunday afternoon.
The Wild haven't had a lot of success in recent games, but their offense showed up to play early on in the game, and they were immediately rewarded with a goal. Ryan Carter got in on a breakaway after a shot block by Jarret Stoll, and although Corey Crawford stopped both the initial shot and a rebound, Brent Seabrook failed to clear the crease and Matt Dumba flipped home a shot to make it 1-0 Minnesota less than four minutes into the game.
Just a few minutes later, the Wild picked up a power play. Dumba delivered a solid hit to Andrew Desjardins near the Blackhawks' bench, and Phillip Danault was tagged with an extra minor penalty after he jumped into the fracas and knocked Dumba to the ice.
Just before the power play ended, the Wild capitalized and scored. Off a face-off win by Minnesota, Jason Pominville fired a shot toward the net, and Thomas Vanek deflected it past Crawford and through a screen to make it a 2-0 game seven and a half minutes into the contest.
With snowflakes falling, the Blackhawks thought they had scored about halfway through the period, but the goal was waved off. On a drive into the zone, Jonathan Toews made contact with Devan Dubnyk, whose head snapped back on the impact. The official's arm immediately went up, and Minnesota got a power play instead.
Early in the second period, Minnesota was able to extend their lead. After both Blackhawks' defensemen went below the goal line to chase after Pominville, the winger started a tic-tac-toe passing sequence that saw Erik Haula find Nino Niederreiter, and he found the back of the net to make it a 3-0 game.
The Blackhawks' defense continued to struggle as the second period wore on, and they gave up another goal to extend their deficit to four goals. Pominville gets the goal on this one, as he received a pass in the middle of the slot and fired a shot over Crawford's glove to make it a 4-0 game.
The Blackhawks went down a defenseman later in the period as Michal Rozsival was ejected from the contest. He was thrown out of the game after he put a hit on Minnesota forward Jason Zucker, and he received a five minute interference major for his actions.
Early in the third period, the Blackhawks put Scott Darling in net, but things went just as poorly for the back-up goaltender. Ryan Carter ensured that the Wild would get to the five-goal plateau for the fourth consecutive game, as he put in a shot past Darling to make it a 5-0 game.
About halfway through the period, the Blackhawks finally were able to get on the board. Loading up their top forward line, the Hawks broke through as a Trevor van Riemsdyk shot went wide of the net and Patrick Kane fired home the rebound to cut the deficit to 5-1.
Joel Quenneville got adventurous after the Kane goal as he pulled Darling for an extra attacker, but the gamble did not pay off. Haula was hauled down by Kane as he skated in on a breakaway, giving the Wild an automatic goal and a 6-1 lead.