The Blackhawks came into Sunday’s late morning start three points behind the Wild in the Central Division. While it has been a fun weekend in Chicago, there was absolutely no hangover from the Hawks after struggling offensively in their previous two games.
Chicago jumped all over Devan Dubnyk. Patrick Kane got the party started 51 seconds into the contest.
It took the Hawks almost four minutes to get another shot on net, but when they did it was 2-0 Chicago and Dubnyk’s day was over.
Dubynk lasted 4:38, allowed two goals and made zero saves.
The Wild cut the lead in half at 10:30 when Eric Staal scored, but Chicago held the lead after 20. Minnesota out-shot the Hawks 13-7 in the first. Kane, Panarin and Artem Anisimov were on the ice for all three goals, and Corey Crawford was terrific.
Crawford dominating was the storyline of the afternoon, especially in the second period. Chicago’s netminder faced 20 shots in the middle stanza and stopped them all, while the offense gave him a bigger cushion.
After two periods, Chicago held a 3-1 lead but was trailing 33-15 in shots.
Mikael Granlund cut the lead to 3-2 at 46 seconds into the third, but the Blackhawks were able to take advantage of a few bad penalties by Minnesota. At 13:42, Marian Hossa took advantage of a terrible Minnesota change and put the final nail in the coffin.
The Blackhawks defense – especially Crawford – was on point the rest of the way. Minnesota cut their comeback hopes short when Matt Dumba went to the box with 2:09 left in regulation. Ryan Suter joined him in timeout with 27 seconds left in regulation and watched as the Blackhawks were happy to pass the puck in a circle while the clock ran out.
Final score: Blackhawks 4 – Wild 2. And Chicago is one point behind Minnesota in the Central Division.
Crawford was superb, stopping 42 of 44 in the win.
He got some help blocking shots from the skaters in front of him on Sunday. Johnny Oduya (four), Niklas Hjalmarsson (three) and Duncan Keith (three) accounted for ten of the Hawks 17 blocks. Oduya skated 21:20 with an assist and a hit in the game as well. Hjalmarsson led the Hawks with two takeaways and also had an assist in the game.
Kane and Panarin finished with a goal and an assist each, while Anisimov won 12 of 20 at the dot.
Tomas Jurco and Dennis Rasmussen were scratched in favor of Jordin Tootoo and Andrew Desjardins. Tootoo picked up an assist van Riemsdyk’s goal in the second period and Desjardins was tripped by Dumba to give the Hawks’ the game-ending power play.