It’s a common occurrence in the NHL for teams to come home after a long road trip and play sluggishly at home, and the Chicago Blackhawks did exactly that as they fell by a score of 2-1 to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.
Patrick Kane scored Chicago’s lone goal to keep his scoring streak alive at 20 games, but it wasn’t enough as Ryan Suter’s third period goal proved to be the game-winner.
Early in the first period, Mikael Granlund had an opportunity off a rebound in front, and although it bounced off the side of the net, Jason Pominville was able to collect it and put in a wraparound shot off of Corey Crawford’s leg and into the net to give the Wild a 1-0 lead.
As the period wore on, the Blackhawks finally began to generate some chances thanks to Jonathan Toews. The captain got in on a breakaway a few minutes after the Pominville goal, but Devan Dubnyk stopped him on a low backhanded shot. Toews had another chance a few minutes later as he broke in behind the defense, but he couldn’t get enough elevation on the puck as Dubnyk knocked it aside with his leg pad.
The Wild did get one final chance to end the period, as Granlund got the puck on a 3-on-2 rush, and Crawford was able to block it into the corner and keep the Hawks’ deficit at one goal after 20 minutes of play.
The second period opened up with a quick 2-on-1 rush for the Blackhawks, but they weren’t able to capitalize on the chance. Marcus Kruger was stopped on the initial shot, and Marko Dano had a great look on the rebound, but Dubnyk kicked that shot aside as well to keep Minnesota in front.
Four minutes into the period, the Blackhawks got a power play opportunity, and they capitalized to tie things up. After Duncan Keith made a solid defensive play to keep the puck in the zone, he found Patrick Kane wide open in front of the net. After a brief hesitation, Kane partially whiffed on the shot, but it still slid between Dubnyk’s pads to tie things up at 1-1.
The Blackhawks continued to generate chances as the period wore on, with Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin each getting good shots in on net. Dubnyk did stop both players, and his team rewarded him by getting three straight power play opportunities. The Hawks did kill them all off however, and the game remained tied through two periods.
Zach Parise opened up the third period with a big chance off a great feed from Granlund, and Crawford made the save. Crawford looked like he was going to have to stop another breakaway a few moments later, but this time it was Trevor van Riemsdyk saving the day as he broke up an opportunity for Thomas Vanek on the rush.
Even with all of those chances denied, Minnesota was still able to keep pressuring and they ultimately took the lead once again. Granlund jumped into the zone on the breakaway, and although Crawford stopped him initially, Ryan Suter was there to knock in the rebound to put the Wild up by a score of 2-1.
Through the remainder of the game, the Blackhawks weren’t able to generate any consistent pressure, and even with Crawford pulled in the closing minutes, Chicago couldn’t tie the score as they lost for the fourth time in five games against Central Division foes.