Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Kane Extends Streak, Hawks Fall Short To The Wild, 2-1

The Chicago Blackhawks played their first game at the United Center in two weeks.  This game is always considered a trap game where teams after a long road trip tend to relax and don't have a good outcome.  The Wild made that become reality with a 2-1 win over the Hawks.

It started out like the Hawks would be in trouble early as the Wild came out with scoring chances galore. It was Jason Pominville who found the back of the net, 4:09 into the game as he caught Corey Crawford out of position and completed a wrap-around goal to give Minnesota an early 1-0 lead.  The Hawks were getting beaten in board battles and were not getting any traffic in front of Minnesota goalie, Devan Dubnyk.  Fortunately, the period ended with the Hawks only down 1-0 after being outshot 14-8.

In the 2nd, the Hawks came out of their shell and started getting shots to the net.  They managed to draw a holding penalty out of Justin Fontaine and after Duncan Keith made a nice stick lift to cause a turnover, found a wide open Patrick Kane.  Kane found himself with time to read a short novel before depositing a puck between the legs of Dubnyk to tie the game at 1, extending his point streak to 20 games.  The Hawks found themselves short-handed 6 minutes in the final 9 1/2 minutes of the period.  They managed to kill all 3 penalties, but not without some nice saves from Crawford who had a strong 2nd period saving all 11 shots in the period.  After Kane's tying goal, the momentum changed once the Hawks got called for those 3 penalties.

The Wild came back out flying again the 3rd period.  The Hawks managed to fight off the barrage of shots early in the period and settled down.  The game remained tied up until the Hawks became lazy and the Wild took advantage.  Mikael Granlund had a breakaway, deked Crawford, but Crawford with a great toe save could not do anymore as Niklas Hjalmarsson and Duncan Keith managed to allow Ryan Suter, a defenseman, to skate between them both, pick up the rebound, and flipped it into the net to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead.  After emptying the net, the Hawks just couldn't find the back of the net.

Notable mentions: Duncan Keith has a way to go to catch Patrick Kane, but he has a nice 4-game point streak right now.  In his 8 games back from injury, he has 9 points (4G 5A).  The Blackhawks had 22 of their shots blocked by Minnesota which leads to believe, better shot selection and movement of the puck may help.  The Hawks still continue to struggle at the face off dot.  They won only 45% of their draws and were outshot in the game, 36-31.

Three Stars of the Game
1st - MIN - Ryan Suter (1G), 29:36 TOI
2nd - CHI - Patrick Kane (1G)
3rd - MIN - Jason Pominville (1G), +2, 6 shots

Next game: Thursday, December 3rd, Away, VS. the Ottawa Senators


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