After a dominant victory in Buffalo on Friday night the Hawks flew to Minnesota to face a Wild team that was eight points in front of Chicago for the first wild card playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Hawks got an early power play opportunity when Jared Spurgeon went to the box only 21 seconds after the game started. Chicago got three advantages in the first period but the only power play goal was scored by the Wild’s Jason Zucker. The first period was a boring one; both teams put eight shots on net and the Hawks were chasing one after 20 minutes.
But Chicago got after it in the second.
Almost four minutes into the second period John Hayden and Matt Hendricks dropped their gloves and did a nice dance before falling to the ice. The “fight” didn’t do much to stir the audience at home but the Blackhawks were able to pick up their offensive attack soon after.
Alex DeBrincat’s 26th of the season tied the game at one at 7:51.
Almost seven minutes later Erik Gustafsson unloaded a one-timer and gave the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead.
Dominik Kahun and Dylan Strome were credited with the assists on the DeBrincat and Gustafsson goals, highlighting a really good period from the line.
The Blackhawks out-shot the Wild 14-11 in the second period and took a 2-1 lead into the third period.
Mikko Koivu tied the game eight minutes into the third period, beginning a third period that saw more action in 90 seconds than we saw in the entire first period.
At 14:32 Greg Pateryn cross-checked Patrick Kane into the boards and was told to think about his actions alone for two minutes. While he contemplated his play, Chicago finally took advantage of a power play. Kane took a high stick to the mouth and appeared to get pissed off… a death blow to teams playing the Hawks recently.
DeBrincat got the puck to Kane who fired a pass to Jonathan Toews in front of the net. Chicago’s captain redirected the pass into the net to give Chicago a 3-2 lead.
Unfortunately, Victor Rask scored 88 seconds later to tie the game.
Both sides had good chances in the final minutes of the third period but the game headed to overtime. But before regulation ended Ryan Suter took a delay of game penalty that carried over into the extra session.
The Hawks started the 4-on-3 overtime power play with Toews, Kane, DeBrincat and Gustafsson on the ice. Gus tried to defer – to a fault he continued to pass – until finally he put a good shot on net and ended the game.
His second goal of the night and tenth of the year gave the Blackhawks a second road victory in as many nights.
Collin Delia got the start and did a nice job. He stopped 28 of 31 shots to earn the victory. Alex Stalock allowed four goals against 31 shots to take the loss.
Toews led Chicago with six shots on net and won 14 of 26 faceoffs with one goal and an assist on the game-winning goal.
DeBrincat added the second assist on the game-winning goal, giving him three points in the game. Strome and Kahun had two assists and Gustafsson’s two goals were the other Hawks skaters with multi-point nights.