Coming off of a pair of lackluster performances, one of which they stole two points against the Minnesota Wild and another in which they failed to get an easy two points against a horrid Edmonton Oilers squad, it was safe to say that the Chicago Blackhawks needed to come out with a little bit of fire in a Sunday night rematch with the Wild at the United Center. They absolutely did that, virtually running Minnesota out of the Madhouse with a 4-1 win.
While the shots and numbers in the Corsi department were relatively even, this just felt like one that the Hawks easily could have won by a few more goals than they ultimately did. The Blackhawks fell a bit short in shots, where the Wild edged them, 37-31, but it was the Hawks who registered more shot attempts, at a 63-60 count. That's a far cry from where they were on Thursday, when the Wild attempted 81 shots to only 36 for the Blackhawks.
Marian Hossa and Bryan Bickell got the scoring started for the Blackhawks in the first period, as they came out with a vengeance. Hossa, Jonathan Toews, and Brandon Saad made some magic happen, with Toews feeding Hossa to a wide open net. That line was fantastic all night, but particularly dominant in the first, where they cycled whenever they wanted and Minnesota couldn't do a thing about it.
Bickell added the second of the game after Patrick Kane led seemingly every Minnesota skater to gravitate in his direction before he set Pickle up for the tally. He's played extremely well on that line for the Blackhawks, slotting in in the absence of Kris Versteeg. Brad Richards added the third goal of the game, courtesy of Patrick Kane, before Johnny Oduya put the game on ice in picking up a puck in the front of the net and wristing it home for the 4-0 lead.
Corey Crawford had another excellent night, his second consecutive start that featured some outstanding play after a rough stretch for him. He allowed just one goal on 37 shots, although it felt like he had it easy for much of the night. He's finally looking health, though, which is tremendous news for the Blackhawks, especially after he came back rusty.
The Hawks moves to within two points of Nashville with the win and will have most of the week off before they square off against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday. Perhaps they can finally solve them there. Onto the stars!
Three Stars of the Night
3. Marian Hossa
There are few things in the world more enjoyable than watching Marian Hossa maintain possession of the puck whilst defenders deflect and fall off of him like Mario when he's rolling with a Super Star. Hossa had a goal and an assist on the evening and that top line he forms with Toews and Saad is just an absurdly good trio. Good luck stopping them in a playoff series.
2. Corey Crawford
What can you say about Corey Crawford? He made the big saves when he had to, totaling 36 on the night and coming within just a few minutes of recording his second shutout of the season. He didn't look great when he came back from his lower-body injury, but these last two starts against the Wild show he might be rounding back into form. With the way Antti Raanta played on Friday, that's probably for the best.
1. Patrick Kane
Kane didn't score a goal on the evening, but he's equally as dangerous when he's setting up his teammates. His assist on the Bryan Bickell goal illustrated that perfectly. Kane took the puck and skated in between four Minnesota defenders before sliding it over to a wide open Bickell, who was able to put it home. While his assist on the Richards goal didn't feature such a spectacular play, it did run his season point total up to 47. He could obliterate his career high at this pace.
Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.