Blank-galov'd : Wild Shutout Blackhawks.

Hannah Foslien

The Minnesota win 4-0 to cut the Blackhawks' series lead down to 2-1.

Game 3's on the road have not been pretty for the Blackhawks of late.  They lost all four of them on their march to the Stanley Cup last season, so dropping Tuesday night's game shouldn't have been a huge shock to anyone.  Losing the game because the head coach makes changes just to make a change doesn't thrill me.  But, if you are worried about the Hawks playing a less than inspired game and not bouncing back, you haven't been paying attention.


Many of the players in the Chicago locker room expected the Wild to come out flying in front of their home crowd, but that never really happened.  The Wild were not able to get much going at 5 v 5 and even less with the man advantage getting no shots on goal in over three minutes of power play time.  It wasn't if the Blackhawks were much better as they only managed seven shots in the period.  Duncan Keith provided the most excitement for the boys in white.  First he hit the post on an early power play, then he did a great job getting back to disrupt a shorthanded breakaway attempt by Erik Haula with on a later power play.


The 2nd period was much of the same, as neither team could get much offensive pressure gooing and could produce very few legitimate scoring chances. The most significant play came late in the period when Ryan Suter fell awkwardly on his shoulder while getting tangled up with Marian Hossa.   Suter went straight to the locker room after the play but did return to the ice for the 3rd period.

The Wild would jump out to a 2-0 lead with two pretty goals early in the 3rd period.  Erik Haula got the scoring started at 1:41 when he got past both Patrick Kane and Michal Rozsival and tipped in a great pass from Justin Fontaine.  About two and a half minutes later, Mikael Granlund stick handled in between Marcus Kruger and Brent Seabrook and put a slick backhand shot past Corey Crawford. Zach Parise scored the Wild's first playoff power play goal against the Blackhawks in franchise history at 17:25.  Granlund scored again at 18:43, this time into an empty net to ice the game.

* There won't be too many observations because there was not a whole lot to get excited about, but Joel Quenneville is as much to blame as anyone for the loss.  I don't have a problem with scratching Nick Leddy based on poor performance.  But Q said he did it just to get Sheldon Brookbank in the series.  This I don't understand, and I think he is full of crap.  Leading a playoff series 2-0 is not the time to be making changes for the sake of change.


* Quenneville got too smart for his own good midway through the game.  For whatever reason, about 30 minutes into a scoreless game in which the Wild had less than 10 shots on goal, Q decided to switch up his defensive pairings. Why? The mismatched pairs looked out of sorts for most of the 3rd period, the period in which all the goals were scored.  That's so weird.  I know Q has over 700 wins and two Cups, but that doesn't give a free pass to do stupid things and not be held accountable for them.


* Marc-Andre Fleury and Ilya Bryzgalov have three shutouts in the last 48 hours.  I think it might be time to go to church and light a candle.  Bryzgalov picked up his fourth career playoff shutout, but let's face it the Hawks never made life difficult for him at any point of the night.  I am still waiting for a forward, any forward to crash the net for a rebound.


* Who knows what the lines will look like on Friday, but a lineup that contains Brandon Bollig, Sheldon Brookbank and Kris Versteeg flat out sucks. It's time for the coach to come up with a combo that he can trust to play meaningful minutes.

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% Rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Keith, Duncan

D

23:09

71.9

26.0

72.7

30.2

75.0

Hjalmarsson, Niklas

D

16:50

40.7

-23.4

37.5

-25.7

40.0

Seabrook, Brent

D

15:53

61.5

7.8

63.6

16.1

66.7

Sharp, Patrick

R

17:01

59.3

4.5

52.4

-1.3

100

Kruger, Marcus

C

12:04

52.9

-4.2

56.3

4.1

25.0

Brookbank, Sheldon

D

12:16

70.0

18.3

66.7

15.7

80.0

Toews, Jonathan

C

16:07

59.4

5.2

56.0

4.6

66.7

Saad, Brandon

L

13:41

53.3

-3.6

57.1

5.1

44.4

Versteeg, Kris

R

08:32

57.1

1.0

60.0

7.4

66.7

Handzus, Michal

C

08:07

45.5

-12.5

44.4

-10.3

25.0

Oduya, Johnny

D

21:05

44.1

-21.1

41.9

-22.6

50.0

Smith, Ben

R

14:51

52.2

-5.7

40.0

-17.4

100

Bickell, Bryan

L

14:41

66.7

15.7

63.2

14.3

85.7

Rozsival, Michal

D

14:15

52.4

-5.2

50.0

-4.3

75.0

Nordstrom, Joakim

C

09:49

50.0

-7.6

50.0

-4.0

16.7

Bollig, Brandon

L

05:53

37.5

-20.8

40.0

-14.4

0.0

Hossa, Marian

R

15:23

58.6

3.7

54.5

2.0

63.6

Kane, Patrick

R

17:54

56.7

0.7

52.2

-1.7

100

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% Rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Ballard, Keith

D

10:44

37.5

-7.8

25.0

-27.0

50.0

Coyle, Charlie

C

17:28

52.2

11.8

62.5

21.2

23.1

Stoner, Clayton

D

10:30

45.5

2.0

33.3

-14.9

100

Scandella, Marco

D

20:38

35.5

-13.5

45.8

-1.5

0.0

McCormick, Cody

C

10:30

42.9

-1.1

40.0

-8.1

50.0

Koivu, Mikko

C

13:53

52.6

11.6

60.0

17.4

18.2

Parise, Zach

L

15:23

39.1

-6.5

36.8

-14.3

42.9

Fontaine, Justin

R

09:13

45.0

1.7

53.3

8.7

100

Heatley, Dany

L

08:56

38.5

-6.3

30.0

-20.0

50.0

Suter, Ryan

D

21:13

50.0

11.9

57.1

18.9

50.0

Brodziak, Kyle

C

11:34

33.3

-13.4

28.6

-23.5

50.0

Niederreiter, Nino

R

17:17

47.8

5.7

58.8

16.6

15.4

Brodin, Jonas

D

20:45

53.1

15.6

57.7

18.8

47.1

Moulson, Matt

L

08:53

55.6

15.2

69.2

28.4

100

Pominville, Jason

R

12:50

38.1

-7.7

36.8

-14.3

50.0

Spurgeon, Jared

D

19:15

37.5

-10.4

39.3

-13.7

0.0

Haula, Erik

L

10:45

45.5

2.4

52.9

8.5

50.0

Granlund, Mikael

C

16:51

34.6

-13.5

33.3

-20.3

50.0

All data collected from www.nhl.com and www.extraskater.com







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