By Ryan Donaldson / @RADonaldson
Just 48 hours ago, Minnesota came away from their biggest victory of the young season feeling confident after handing the Blackhawks a 5-3 defeat at the United Center. Monday night, the Wild played host to the Blackhawks, who were looked to even the score after losing on home ice to their division foe, Minnesota, Saturday night.
If the first 3 minutes of the game were any indication, the Blackhawks were looking for redemption coming off their performance in Chicago as they hit the ice flying while peppering Backstrom with several early scoring chances. Backstrom, however, looked like he picked up right where he left off making key stops yet again to keep it scoreless. Another element reminscent of Saturday night's contest was the growing chemistry of Pominville and Granlund. The dangerous duo just failed to click on a nifty give-and-go two on one play.
Patrick Sharp was the sole beneficiary from an offensive standpoint in the first period, he took a Marion Hossa pass and wristed it over the shoulder of Niklas Backstrom giving Chicago the early 1-0 edge.
Granlund to Pominville has had a nice ring to it over the past week. That's because all they do is connect on goals. Pominville wrist ed in the game tying goal after he received yet another helper from the assist-machine Mikael Granlund.
The momentum swing was tempered quickly by Brookbank of Chicago who slapped one past an out of position Backstrom to regive Chicago the 1 goal lead at 2-1. Chicago added a 3rd goal before the conclusion of the middle frame to make it a 2 goal lead heading into the 3rd period.
The Kane-Saad duo was too much for the Wild to handle on Monday night. Each added a goal of their own before it was all said and done as the Blackhawks skated to an easy 5-1 victory over Minnesota. This game marked the first regulation loss on home ice for the Wild.
Niklas Backstrom had his toughest outing of the season Monday saying "It sucks to lose. I felt okay coming in, but that is a pretty sharp team." The soft-spoken goaltender went on to say tonight was different than Saturday "I don't know if they were better prepared than us but they were pretty sharp with the puck. That's a good team."
Mike Yeo also addressed the media during the post-game, "I don't think it was any one player tonight, we can pinpoint 3 or 4 different mistakes, but there were too many guys not on top of their game. No matter our record, I'm still going to be saying we have to get better. That is our goal."
The Wild will try to rebound from this ugly loss Friday night at Xcel Energy Center as they play host to the Montreal Candiens, puck drops at 7PM on the FAN!
(Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
By Ryan Donaldson / @RADonaldson
On Saturday night, the Minnesota Wild club returned to the United Center in Chicago where their playoff run briskly came to an end last season to take on the Blackhawks. With the sour taste of their early playoff exit still fresh in their mouths, Minnesota looked to capitalize on this opportunity to put it behind them.
All of the early scoring chances went the way of the Blackhawks as Backstrom was forced to make several tough saves to keep it scoreless in the first few minutes of the game. Granlund was tagged with the first penalty of the game for highsticking, but the Wild killed of the 2-minute man-advantage beautifully.
Later in the period, a Marion Hossa interference gave Minnesota it's first chance of the game. Suter blasted the puck on net following a faceoff win, the rebound found the tape of the dangerous Zach Parise, who cashed in for his 6th goal of the season giving the wild the early 1-0 edge.
Backstrom had the save of the night with his glove on a great move by Patrick Sharp that had the Finnish goal-tender sprawled out like an eagle. The big save and another solid penalty kill helped keep the Blackhawks at bay after one period.
The Wild came out hungry in the 2nd period with a quick goal from Brodziak's deflection of a Scandella drive.
Less than three minutes after a Blackhawk goal was waived off for high-sticking following a 10 minute review, Bickell scored for the Blackhawks to make it 2-1.
However, not to be discourage the Wild got right back to business after Granlund's beautiful feed found the tape of Pominville who wristed in his 5th of the year to re-gain that 2 goal lead at the end of the second period, 3-1.
Granlund was in the mood for helping saturday night as he fed Pominville yet again for his second goal of the night after the Wild killed off a penalty, making it 4-1.
You can't keep the Blackhawks off the scoreboard forever. Notorious Wild pest Patrick Kane tallied to make it a 4-2 game. Patrick Fontaine, however, didn't let the Hawks feel good about themselves for long after shelfing a Koivu backhand pass in the upper left to eventually ice the game 5-3.
Niklas Backstrom, despite allowing 3 goals, was the key to this Saturday night victory. He faced a barage of shots, but he stopped the high powered Blackhawks on several point-blank scoring chances. Backstrom, filling in for the injured Josh Harding, looked like he wasn't going to be willing to give up the starting goal-tender title without a fight after this gritty performance.
Mikael Granlund was one of the stars of the game, and after the tilt, he was with Tom Reid in the locker room "Chicago is a great team, but we found a way to win, and we've got to keep it going. We are creating chances, this is just the first time we actually got a couple, those goals between me and Pominville will keep coming if we can keep playing like that" He went on to say this win was huge for the team "It was a big win, every win is, but especially this one. Chicago will want to bounce back Monday night and we will have to be ready for that!"
As Mikael noted, the Wild are back in action Monday night at Xcel Energy Center hosting the familiar team they faced just 48 hours earlier, the Blackhawks. The Wild took game 1 of their regular season series on Saturday night on the road, and will look to take game 2 on home ice come Monday Night at 7PM on the FAN!
By: Kate Butler | KFAN.com
Tonight was Harding’s Hope night here at The X, and what more could the Wild hope for than second consecutive win at home. After a battle from both sides, the Hurricanes went home hanging their heads tonight, as the Wild took the W with a 3-1 victory.
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It didn’t take the Wild long to pull ahead, just over three minutes after the initial goal the Hurricanes found themselves down by two. The goal was a deflected-shot from Parise, his 5th of the season, with Spurgeon and Suter credited on the assists. The shots this period were the closest any team has come all season in one period, with the Wild only outshooting
The second period had the Wild in a good place: up by two goals and successfully killing a penalty that came just one minute into play. The two-goal-lead, nor the successful penalty kill lasted long, as at into the period Alexander Semin narrowed the scoring gap. The power play goal was a slapshot from Semin, with assists to Eric Staal and Sekera. The Wild were outshot this period, which is uncharacteristic for them lately in the second period, 12-6.
The final period of regulation play opened with Backstrom between the pipes, and Torrey Mitchell in the box. Backstrom appeared to be back to good health, shutting down all seven shots that came his way. Just 26 seconds left to play, Healey, from Cooke and Prosser, scored a power play goal on an empty net to close out the game.
“This definitely wasn’t our best game of the year…but at the end of the day we won. We take a lot of pride in this,” said Parise after the game.
The Wild beat the Canes tonight by a score of 3-1, making the team undefeated at home for the last six games.