It took 54 minutes for the Blackhawks to get on the board, but Corey Crawford once again carried the team to a strong road victory in Minnesota.
Chicago came out firing, out-shooting Minnesota 16-9 in the first period. Both Crawford and Devan Dubnyk had a good opening 20 minutes to keep the game scoreless. The Hawks were able to successfully kill a Nick Schmaltz penalty in the first.
The song remained the same in the second. Chicago held a 9-8 shot advantage in the middle frame, but came up empty on two powerplays of their own. Jonathan Toews spent two minutes in the box for Chicago, but his teammates killed that penalty off as well.
With the score still tied at zero, Luke Kunin caught Cody Franson with a high stick and received a double-minor for his effort. Though the first two minutes of the Hawks’ advantage weren’t productive, Chicago was able to get on the board 11 seconds into the second half of the powerplay.
Artem Anisimov planted himself in front of Dubnyk and tipped home a Duncan Keith shot to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
After scoring only once in the Hawks first ten games, Anisimov has now scored in four straight games. Patrick Kane picked up the second assist on the goal.
Dubnyk went to the bench as the Wild tried to tie the game in the final minutes but Alex DeBrincat was able to score into an empty net for the second time in as many games. Toews won a battle and got the puck to DeBrincat, who had just come onto the ice, and the rookie put it home for his third of the year.
From there the Hawks held on to earn their second consecutive shutout victory. Chicago had a couple more golden opportunities in the closing minutes with Dubnyk on the bench, but Matt Dumba made a terrific save on a DeBrincat shot and Richard Panik put a shot wide with an open cage.
In a big divisional game, the Hawks had a strong night at the dot. Anisimov won 10 of 16, Toews won nine of 16, Schmaltz won eight of 14 and Tommy Wingels won seven of 12 as the Blackhawks finished winning 57 percent of the faceoffs in the game as a team.
Dubnyk had a strong night in defeat, stopping 34 of 35 on the night. Crawford made 24 saves to earn another shutout.
Chicago was credited with only eight hits as a team, led by two each from Franson and Michal Kempny. Minnesota blocked 22 more shots in front of Dubnyk while the Hawks were only credited with nine blocks in the game. Kempny, Panik and Jan Rutta blocked two each. And Kempny led the Blackhawks with six shots on net.
It was an oddly refreshing, balanced performance from the Blackhawks forwards. Toews led all Chicago forwards but skated only 18 minutes. Only three defensemen – Keith, Franson and Brent Seabrook – skated more than 20 minutes in the game.
Chicago returns to the United Center to host the Habs on Sunday night.