The Minnesota Wild overcame a shaky start for a timely victory against a division rival.Ryan Suter gave Minnesota the lead on a 4-on-4 early in the third period, Devan Dubnyk made 34 saves and the Wild held off the Blackhawks 2-1 on Wednesday night to end a two-game slide.Jonas Brodin scored in the second period for Minnesota (23-17-4). The Wild pulled two points ahead of the Hawks (21-16-6) in the tight Central Division and tussle for playoff spots in the Western Conference.The Wild were outshot 14-5 in the first period – and lucky to trail just 1-0.
”The first period was terrible,” Suter said. ”We weren’t skating, no energy, turning a lot of pucks over, and they were playing in our end.”
Following the opening frame, coach Bruce Boudreau told his players to get a grip on the game, and they responded.
”You saw the first period,” Boudreau said. ”(The Blackhawks) probably had the puck 15 minutes in our zone, it was embarrassing. Being within one goal is amazing.to (the Wild’s) credit, I thought in the second and third period, they really buckled down and played really hard.”
Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook, a healthy scratch in a 8-2 victory in Ottawa on Tuesday night, was back in the lineup and celebrated with his first goal since opening night.But that’s all the Blackhawks could muster.
”We had some OK zone time, but we really weren’t connecting on passes,” said Patrick Kane, who was held off the scoresheet after posting a career-high five points at Ottawa. ”(The Wild) did a good job intercepting plays we were looking for, so it a little bit of different club were going up against.
”A bit frustrating when you get something going. You want to build off that and we didn’t do it.”
The Blackhawks were 0-for-3 on the power play – including wasting a chance late in the third period – after going 4-for-6 with the advantage against the Senators.Anton Forsberg made 25 saves in his third straight start. Corey Crawford, the Blackhawks No. 1 goalie, missed his seventh game with an upper-body injury and hasn’t resumed skating. There’s no timetable for his return.Blackhawks defenseman Jan Rutta left early in the third, then returned late in the period, after taking an illegal hit to the head from Minnesota’s Marcus Foligno.Both teams played their second games in two nights. Minnesota lost 3-2 in overtime at home to Calgary on Tuesday night.The Blackhawks acquired winger Anthony Duclair and defenseman Adam Clendening from Arizona before the game in a trade for right wing Richard Panik and minor league forward Laurent Dauphin.Getting the speedy 22-year-old Duclair is another step for Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman as he tries to shake up and add quickness to a perennial contender that’s looked sluggish at times this season while fighting to maintain a playoff position.The talented but inconsistent Duclair has nine goals and six assists in 33 games this season, scoring in each of his last two games after reports surfaced that he had asked for a trade.
NOTES—Entering Wednesday, the 32-year-old Seabrook had just one goal and 10 assists in 41 games and had often looked sluggish. Coach Joel Quenneville said he’s ”looking for a little bit more from (Seabrook) … whether it’s defending, quickness or offensively.” … Kane, the Hawk’s leading scorer, and Minnesota C Eric Staal were named Wednesday to the NHL All-Star Game. … Minnesota RW Nino Niederreiter missed his second game with a lower-body injury. He is expected to be out until the Wild returns from their bye week on Jan. 20. … The Blackhawks had seven defensemen its lineup. … Blackhawks C Nick Schmaltz played his 100th NHL game.