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Blackhawks tame Wild in 3-1 victory

Chicago has now won two of its last three games.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

A strong first period followed by two dominant periods from goaltender Corey Crawford led the Chicago Blackhawks to a 3-1 win victory over the Minnesota Wild at the United Center on Sunday night.

The Blackhawks jumped ahead near the middle of the first period when Jonathan Toews tapped home a perfect pass from Patrick Kane for a power play goal.

Later in the period, Brandon Saad continued his resurgence, displaying his speed and his hands with a goal that doubled Chicago’s advantage, leading to a 2-0 Blackhawks lead heading into the first intermission.

Crawford made those first-period goals stand up, turning away 28 of the 29 shots he faced over the final two periods. Zach Parise scored on the power play in the second period for the Wild, Minnesota’s lone tally of the game. Dominik Kahun provided the dagger with an empty-net goal in the final minute of the third period.

Thoughts

We have a bonus edition of the “3 Thoughts” segment this evening, with four members of the SCH staff present at staff headquarters on Sunday night. Therefore, we’re going to turn the floor over to each member for their thoughts on the action:

Shalyn Brady

“Power play was not awful. Brandon Saad is alive. Patrick Kane cannot hit an empty net. Breakouts are still terrible. But they played with a lot of pressure ... I really like how the game flowed. And I’m a big fan of the new man-to-man defense that coach Jeremy Colliton has them playing.”

Brandon Cain

“The lack of depth scoring remains a big issue for this team, but at least a healthy Brandon Saad is playing some of his best hockey right now. Let’s not talk about the other Brandons unless it’s Brandon Hagel. Maybe.”

Dave Melton

“The Blackhawks got an early lead and didn’t blow it! Against a divisional opponent!! The overall play needs to improve, obviously, but some of that can be chalked up to the adjustment period for a new coach. It’s two points against a team Chicago is chasing in the standings, with Toews, Kane and Saad all featuring on the scoresheet and Crawford being his usual elite self. I’ll take it.”

Brad Repplinger

“Winning is good and winning is fun. But there’s a glaring issue with how the defense is being played. While it’s good that the man-to-man defense is putting pressure on the boards and away from Crawford, there needs to be better management of traffic in the slot. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Jan Rutta. Spatial awareness is going to be key if the Hawks don’t want 40 shots taken on them in a game.

And y’all need to experience watching a Blackhawks game with Shalyn Brady at least once before the season’s over: 12/10, would recommend.”

3 Stars

  1. Corey Crawford (CHI) — 39 saves
  2. Jonathan Toews (CHI) — 1 goal, 1 assist
  3. Brandon Saad (CHI) — 1 goal