Dave Bolland's scoring slump appears to be over, and it's just what the Chicago Blackhawks need as they emerge from a tough stretch.
The reliable veteran Bolland had two goals and an assist, and Chicago got two goals 23 seconds apart from rookie Jimmy Hayes and Victor Stalberg in the second period of a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.
"Right now we're rolling, and it's a good thing," said Bolland, who has four goals in three games after scoring just one in the previous 18. "Things are working in the offensive zone, and we're getting quick outs (from the defensive zone)."
The play of the 6-foot-6 Hayes and fellow rookie Andrew Shaw, who also had a goal Thursday, has helped compensate for the loss of Patrick Sharp, who is out for several weeks because of an injury.
Chicago has won two straight on the heels of a four-game losing streak.
Hayes scored the tiebreaker on the power play in the second, planting himself in the crease and taking a nifty pass from Bolland, who held the puck behind the net.
"Bolland made a great play, and I buried it for him," Hayes said.
"He's got a big body and a quick stick," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said of Hayes. "With his hands he was able to make a nice fast play."
Devin Setoguchi had the game's first goal for Minnesota, and Kyle Brodziak added a rebound tally in the third period for the Wild.
Stalberg received a pass from Jonathan Toews, and his shot in the slot apparently deflected off goalie Josh Harding's glove and into the net.
Bolland added another power-play goal off a rebound at 16:27, prompting Wild coach Mike Yeo to pull Harding and replace him with Matt Hackett. Bolland and Hayes also had assists in the second period.
Harding, who had been ill after Tuesday night's win over San Jose, gave up the four goals on 21 shots. No. 1 goalie Niklas Backstrom was also ill and didn't play.
"There's no excuse, none whatsoever. Health had nothing to do with the way I played out there," Harding said. "It was just one of those nights when I was pretty brutal."
Chicago backup goalie Ray Emery made 21 saves and improved to 10-3-2.
Shaw tied it in the first with a shot from the left circle that beat a screened Harding at 11:33.
The Wild went up early when Setoguchi, who was a healthy scratch in Minnesota's previous game Tuesday after he missed a team meeting, scored on a rebound after Emery had stopped a shot from between the circles by Marek Zidlicky.
Harding made a sprawling save on Marian Hossa after a nice cross-ice pass from Bolland, and stopped a fast-breaking Michael Frolik, preserving the tie in the opening period. He finished the first with 11 saves.
But the Wild couldn't keep up the caliber of play they showed early in the opening period and are 2-9-3 in their last 14 games after a strong start.
"It was there for the first seven minutes and then we started to turn pucks over like crazy," Yeo said. "Everything we needed to do to win this game we didn't do.
"We have to play the right way and we have to have everybody. Tonight we didn't even come close to playing the right way."