After a rough night of travel after a loss in Detroit, the Blackhawks came out flat against a division rival and it cost them. The Blackhawks lost in regulation for the second time in the new calendar year, this time dropping a 2-1 decision at the hands of the Minnesota Wild.
Antti Raanta got the start for the Hawks and was tested early, allowing two goals against 10 Wild shots in the first period. Jason Pominville scored his 20th of the season to open the scoring as Pat Foley was telling the viewing audience in Chicago how well he had played against the Blackhawks. Matt Cooke’s seventh of the season, a shot Raanta should have had, was enough to be the game-winner.
Raanta faced only 19 shots in the game, stopping 17 in the loss. It was his first action since Jan. 12 against Edmonton, and his first loss since a shootout defeat on Dec. 28 in St. Louis.
The one bright spot on the night was, once again, the penalty kill. Chicago killed four penalties, including a full two-minute 5-on-3 when Brent Seabrook and Patrick Sharp went to the box together in the first period. Unfortunately, Cooke scored 46 seconds after the Hawks completed the 5-on-3 kill.
Patrick Kane scored his first goal of 2014 – his first in 11 games – with only 31 seconds left in regulation. He was the sum of the Hawks’ offense in the game, but Chicago put 34 shots on net and Minnesota blocked another 15 in support of Darcy Kuemper.
Chicago was without Duncan Keith for the game, and the Hawks blue line predictably suffered. Coach Joel Quenneville said Keith was sick after the game.
After a bad night in Detroit, Johnny Oduya responded with a minus-two performance on Thursday night. Michal Rozsival skated 22:22 in Keith’s absence, and Sheldon Brookbank was on the ice for 15:25 in the loss.
The Hawks host their last home game before the Stadium Series game at Soldier Field – on March 1 – on Sunday when the Winnipeg Jets visit the United Center.