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Chaos Rising: Wild 4, Blackhawks 3

The Blackhawks pick up another point, but lose their third straight game.

Minnesota Wild v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks secured at least a point for the second game in a row on Sunday night but ultimately fell 4-3 in the shootout to the Minnesota Wild.

A blast from Jake McCabe put the Blackhawks up 1-0 early in the first period. Sam Lafferty carried the puck in and around the net before setting up McCabe’s point shot:

Matthew Boldy answered for the Wild to make it 1-1 just 22 seconds later with a shot from the slot. The play was made possible after McCabe failed to clear the puck out of the zone near the blue line.

Mason Shaw finished off a slick passing sequence from Sam Steel behind the goal line to put the Wild up 2-1 at 10:52 of the first.

Just over five minutes into the second period, Ryan Hartman tried to fight Jarred Tinordi, but the fisticuffs barely started before it was over and Hartman was hurt.

Jonathan Toews cleaned up Philipp Kurashev’s centering feed to tie the game back up 2-2. It looked like the Captain waited just long enough to pick with his favorite spot: 5-hole.

Toews almost had his second goal of the game before the second period ended, but Marc-Andre Fleury absolutely robbed him with a glove save. Toews gave the former Blackhawks starting goalie a friendly chest bump after.

The third period opened with the Wild getting seven shots off in the first two minutes after several failed clears by the Blackhawks. Live look at Stalock during this sequence:

Andreas Athanasiou absolutely turnstiled Matt Dumba on a breakaway to make it 3-2 Blackhawks 10:02 into the third period.

For the second time in the game, Boldy responded quickly for the Wild — this time just 17 seconds after the last Blackhawks goal — to re-tie the game at 3-3 with 9:41 remaining. Eriksson Ek sent a beautiful cross ice pass to a completely uncovered Boldy for an easy open-net goal.

The 3-3 tie would remain through the rest of the third period and overtime. Then Kirill Kaprizov and Frederick Gaudreau both scored and Fleury was perfect in the shootout, so the Wild defeated the Blackhawks 4-3.

Notes

  • Not the best game from the Blackhawks, but it was at least more entertaining than the one against the Buffalo Sabres last night. Even though they were outplayed — the Wild had 55.67 percent of the shot attempts and 64.67 percent of the expected goals in regulation — it didn’t feels as despondent as last night.
  • The biggest issue for the Blackhawks this game seemed to be their failures to clear the zone, which led to the Wild camping out in the Blackhawks’ end pretty often. They haven’t had much of an issue with that this season so far — even last night — so hopefully this is a one-off.
  • There were a couple of instances of physical play that were miscalculated by Blackhawks. Most obvious was McCabe going for a shove instead of focusing on getting the puck out of the zone, which resulted in the first goal against. There were also hits from Tinordi and Katchouk that probably should’ve received penalties. Those two didn’t hurt the Blackhawks, ultimately, but they might want to tone those down before bad habits form. And then the Domi fight ...
  • It’s understandable to want to stick up for your teammates, but the Blackhawks would have been on a power play in the final two minutes of a tie game if Domi didn’t jump in to defend Kane via fighting. The best payback would have been the Hawks scoring and winning the game. It’s admirable, but it’s not smart. Although, let’s be real: the Blackhawks should have still received a power play anyway for the initial dirty hit.
  • Like Soderblom last night, Stalock did deserve a bit better from his teammates. He made 32 saves on 35 shots while facing 17 high-danger chances. As always, it was chaos around him, but he’s never really out of a play and keeps the Blackhawks in it.
  • That Athanasiou goal was a thing of beauty. The speedster is usually plagued by being unable to finish regularly when on the breakaway, but not only did he score, he made Dumba look ridiculous while doing it. Early contender for goal of the season. And apparently it was pretty surreal for Athanasiou too:
  • Toews’ scored his team-leading fifth goal tonight, showing that he’s still got a lot left in the tank. He had a few sloppy mistakes that ended up being costly the last couple of games, so nice bit of redemption for the captain there.
  • Kurashev has been a delight this season so far, and tonight’s game wasn’t any different. The way he followed his own shot off the boards to setup Toews’ goal was just a smart, high-effort play. It was one of many plays throughout the game that could have ended in a goal. Hopefully he keeps this up.
  • Ultimately, this game was a step up from last night against the Sabres, but it’d be great if they could get back to being a bit more defensively sound and cohesive like in the three games prior. It’s preferable for them to lose well as opposed to winning/getting a loser point while not playing as well or downright poorly.

Game Charts

Three Stars

  1. Matt Boldy (MIN) — 2 goals
  2. Mason Shaw (MIN) — 1 goal, 1 assist
  3. Andreas Athanasiou (CHI) — 1 goal, goal of the season candidate

What’s next?

The Blackhawks are back at the United Center on Tuesday night to face the New York Islandres at 7:30.