Ray Emery wasn’t great but the Hawks scorers tried to make things interesting the night after locking up a playoff spot in the regular season finale at the United Center.
The Blackhawks (literally) fought back from two one-goal deficits and a two-goal deficit to draw even with the Wild before losing in their third shootout in four games.
As usual, the superstars stole the headlines on Sunday night. Patrick Sharp opened the scoring for the Hawks and Patrick Kane scored twice, including a late power play goal to tie the game and force overtime.
But it was once again the younger players on the roster that propped up the Blackhawks in a tight game.
Chicago’s rookies came out fighting. Jimmy Hayes and Brandon Bollig dropped their gloves in the first period and Andrew Shaw, who picked up 12 penalty minutes in the first for nothing more than talking trash, finally fought in the second. In total, 52 penalty minutes were handed out in the first 40 minutes of hockey.
Shaw led the team with five hits in the game.
Nick Leddy, not a rookie but still a 21-year-old the Wild continue to regret trading for Cam Barker, had two assists, two hits and one takeaway in the game. Dylan Olsen led the Hawks with four hits and played a strong, physical game in over 11 minutes of ice time. And Marcus Kruger had one assist, one blocked shot and was plus-two on the night.
Viktor Stalberg continued his strong play, scoring his 21st goal of the season off a gorgeous pass from Brent Seabrook early in the second period. Stalberg’s goal tied the game at two, but the Wild put two more goals on the board in the following 61 seconds.
Kane won nine of his 12 faceoffs in addition to scoring twice.
Chicago’s youth movement continues to help push them up the playoff standings. Sunday night marked the end of Duncan Keith’s five-game suspension, and the Hawks were relatively successful during his absence (2-1-2).