Blackhawks beat Wild; play vs improving Oilers on Friday

The Avalanche had a "goalie win" versus the Blackhawks earlier this week; last night, Chicago did the same versus the Wild.

There's been few games this season where the Blackhawks have been held under 25 SOG; last night, they had just 20 - but 4 of them were goals, including one empty-netter.

Chicago broke the streak they were on by scoring first, for the first time in seven games, a Patrick Sharp goal 5:08 into the opening period. Patrick Kane would stretch the lead to 2-0 by the end of the period with a power play goal on Thomas Vanek's 5-minute penalty.

Jason Zucker put the Wild on the board just 1:03 into the second.

But despite their low shot tally, the Blackhawks weren't sitting on their heels, and Bryan Bickell made it 3-1 in the third period. Jason Pominville would pull the Wild within one again with a power play goal late that period, but Bickell would seal the win with an ENG with one minute remaining in the game.

Uncharacteristically for the Blackhawks, they not only were outshot by a margin of more than 2:1 - the Wild not only had 44 SOG but 23 attempts blocked and 14 missed shots, versus Chicago's 20/9/7 - but they also took a lot of penalties in comparison to their opponent.

The Wild were playing emotionally charged; Zach Parisé's father, Jean-Paul, had passed away the night before, and he was honored before the game. J-P Parisé played for Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series and was a member of the North Stars in their inaugural year. Parisé also coached for the North Stars, and later for hockey-powerhouse prep school Shattuck-Saint Mary's. He played 890 games in the NHL. Zach's brother, Jordan, was also a pro hockey player, but never played at the NHL level.

Corey Crawford stood on his head for the Blackhawks, collecting a .955 sv% with 2 GAA for the game, and winning the first star of the evening.

3 Stars:
1) Corey Crawford - CHI
2) Jason Zucker - MN
3) Jason Pominville - MN

Tonight, the Blackhawks are in Edmonton, where they will face the still-struggling Oilers (9-23-9).

Back in November, the Blackhawks stomped all over the Oilers on Edmonton ice. Since then, the Oilers have made a few acquisitions (Rob Klinkhammer, Derek Roy), but their overall performance has yet to improve. Their top line (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle) remains solid, and the team as a whole has found some success on the power play in the past few games.

The Oilers also fired head coach Dallas Eakins a month ago, and the team is being helmed by the interim Todd Nelson. While the team hasn't completely changed their performance yet, they have managed to take points out of four of their past five games, including two of their nine wins on the season. The team has plenty of offensive firepower, so if the Blackhawks take a night off defensively, the Oilers can really make them pay.

The starting goalies have been announced as Antti Raanta for Chicago, and Ben Scrivens for Edmonton.


Game time: 8:30pm CT

Where to watch: Chicago: CSN-Chicago; Edmonton: SNW; Radio: WGN 720 AM Chicago; 630 CHED Edmonton


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