Hawks defeat Wild in shootout; face Blue Jackets Friday

Battered, bruised, and missing their two marquee stars, the Hawks hosted the Wild at the United Center looking for two points and a spark in their play that’s been lacking in the last few contests.  They found both in a hard-earned 3-2 shootout win against the Minnesota Wild, despite forward lines thrown off because of injuries and a last-minute scratch of Johnny Oduya.

 

Minnesota would get on the board first, after a shot from Jared Spurgeon glanced off Niklas Hjalmarsson’s stick and was tipped past Corey Crawford by Charlie Coyle.

 

The Hawks would even the game with a second chance goal by Ben Smith early in the second period after a scramble around the net popped a rebound that he put past Ilya Bryzgalov.

 

The Hawks would fail to capitalize on their only PP of the period but would take the lead on a goal by Bryan Bickell, coming back after missing 6 games with an injury.  Bickell’s initial shot was stopped by the toe of Bryzgalov, but Bickell put the rebound top shelf to give the Hawks the lead with just over 17 minutes remaining.

 

The Wild came back and tied the game up with just over a minute remaining in the third after a shot by Erik Haula went through the legs of Hjalmarsson and beat Crawford.  

 

After a scoreless overtime period, the game went to a shootout, where Crawford would deny all three Minnesota shooters.  Marian Hossa would score the lone goal for the Hawks

 

Three Stars:

1. Bryan Bickell: 1 G, 4 SOG, 9:56 TOI

2. Ben Smith: 1 G, + 1, 18:08 TOI

3. Ryan Suter: 1 A, 3 SOG, 33:11 TOI

 

The Hawks will head to Columbus to close out their series against the Blue Jackets on Friday.  The Hawks have played Columbus just once this season after the Blue Jacket’s move to the Eastern conference, with Chicago taking a 6-1 decision at home.

 

The Hawks, currently sitting 1 point behind the Colorado Avalanche, are looking for home ice in the playoffs against their divisional foe while the Blue Jackets are fighting for their playoff lives in a scramble for a wild card or third place spot in the Metropolitan division.  

 

Both teams will have played the day before, Chicago against Minnesota and the Blue Jackets against Philadelphia, so both teams will have to bounce back to get two much-needed points.

 

Injury Report: Jonathan Toews (upper body) and Patrick Kane (lower body) are both out, while Michael Roszival (lower body) could return for Friday’s contest.  Oduya (lower body) was an unexpected scratch Thursday and his status is unknown for Friday. Nikolai Khabibulin (surgery) is still out....for the Jackets, Ryan Murray (surgery on knee),Nikita Nikitin (lower body) and Nathan Horton (lower body) will all miss the game.

 

Game info: 6:00 p.m. CT, CSN-CH

 

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