Blackhawks Thrive Against The Wild
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The Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville didn’t get to be with his team for their win this time, but the team was able to put their worries aside.
Troy Brouwer’s perfectly placed centering pass went off a Minnesota defenseman for the tiebreaking goal in the third period, helping Corey Crawford and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Wild 3-1 on Wednesday night without ailing coach Joel Quenneville.
Quenneville was admitted to a hospital with an undisclosed illness after he started feeling discomfort at home late Tuesday. Team physician Dr. Michael Terry said Wednesday morning Quenneville was in stable condition, and there was no update before the game.
Assistant Mike Haviland was in charge with Quenneville away, and the Blackhawks responded with a much-needed victory in their first home game since a 4-2 loss to Minnesota on Jan. 25.
Crawford made 33 saves, and Brian Campbell also scored for Chicago, which had lost six of eight, including its previous two games in shootouts. Jake Dowell added an empty-net goal with 59 seconds left, and Marian Hossa had two assists during a very active night.
The Wild and Blackhawks are trying to claw into playoff position in the crowded Western Conference and they played like it during a crisply played game.
Chicago carried a 1-0 lead into the third but Matt Cullen got behind the Blackhawks defense during a power play and beat Crawford 6:59 into the period. Rookie Jared Spurgeon set up Cullen’s 11th goal with a sharp pass.
The Blackhawks responded less than a minute later. After Chuck Kobasew was sent off for interference, Brouwer tried to find Hossa in front. The puck appeared to bounce off defenseman Greg Zanon before heading into the net.
It was a tough break for Jose Theodore, who kept the Wild in the game with 34 stops.
Dave Bolland added three assists for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who are heading into a critical stretch of their season. Six of Chicago’s next seven games are against Western Conference teams.
Minnesota outshot Chicago 17-10 in the opening period and had two power plays, but the Blackhawks still carried a 1-0 lead into the second. Crawford made nice stops on Mikko Koivu, Antti Miettinen and Cal Clutterbuck. Campbell’s power-play slap shot got past a screened Theodore at 12:59.
Minnesota’s streaking penalty killers got more action in the second and responded by helping Theodore shut out the Blackhawks during eight power-play minutes covering three calls. Entering the game, the Wild had killed off 89.7 percent of all penalties since Dec. 31.
The Blackhawks also had several even-strength opportunities in the second but couldn’t convert. Hossa had a look at an open net but Cam Barker tied up his stick. Theodore also made pad saves on Hossa and Bryan Bickell.
Notes: Wild RW Martin Havlat played in his 600th NHL game. … Chicago leads the season series 2-1. The final game is Feb. 28 in Minnesota.
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