Blackhawks historic streak continues with 5-3 win vs the Wild
The Blackhawks took their record to 20-0-3 on Tuesday night, and set a new team record while they were at it: for the first time in 86 years of team history, the Blackhawks have won 10 games in a row.
It was a special night in Chicago to begin with. The team celebrated Marian Hossa's 1,000th career game (played Sunday in Detroit) with a short pre-game ceremony. Hossa was presented with a silver hockey stick to commemorate his achievement as well as a painting of him hoisting the Stanley Cup; chants of "Hos-sa, Hos-sa," rained down from the rafters.
After that, it was time to get down and play hockey.
Chicago didn't open the scoring, but they've proven often this season that they don't need to score first to win. Devin Setoguchi put the Wild on the board first, 8:22 into the game.
Blackhawks rookie Brandon Saad evened things up five minutes later by shoveling in his own rebound. From there, the goal floodgates opened, as just 44 seconds later, Bryan Bickell put a goal in to give Chicago the lead. Bickell wasn't done there and neither was Saad. Bickell would put in the Blackhawks' third goal of the game and period a few minutes later, followed by Marian Hossa a minute and a half later; Saad had helpers on both.
Chicago outshot Minnesota 17-6 in the opening period, and the Wild were lucky to limp out of the first just trailing 4-1.
Both teams would go scoreless in the second, although Minnesota managed to hold Chicago to 11 shots while only getting 4 of their own.
Play opened up in the third, when the Wild applied pressure early and managing to pin the Blackhawks in their own zone from time to time. Their efforts paid off as Ryan Suter put in his first of the year to make it 4-2; several minutes later, Kyle Brodziak pulled the Wild within one of Chicago by making it 4-3.
The Blackhawks seemed to realize that Minnesota could potentially push them into overtime, and shifted their offense back into gear. Patrick Kane put in Chicago's fifth goal of the game a minute later, and Corey Crawford slammed the door for the rest of the game.
Chicago was absolutely dominant in the first, and it was no surprise that they were leading after 20. The Wild were caught flat-footed and goalie Niklas Backstrom was pulled after the period, replaced by rookie goaltender Darcy Kuemper. Kuemper played solid for the rest of the game, allowing only one more goal.
While the Blackhawks didn't take their foot entirely off the gas, they also didn't keep up the pressure they had applied so firmly in the first. They let the Wild back into the game a little, but seemed to realize what was happening on Minnesota's third goal. After that, the team tightened back up and shut the door; as well as scoring another goal to take the wind out of the Wild's thoughts of breaking their streak.
On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks will face the only team they have not played against yet in the Western Conference when the Colorado Avalanche rolls in to town. The Blackhawks and Avalanche will play all three of their season matchups in the next two weeks.
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Final score: Blackhawks 5, Opponent 3
CHI goals: Saad, Bickell, Bickell, Hossa, Kane
MN goals: Setoguchi, Suter, Brodziak
1) Bryan Bickell
2) Brandon Saad
3) Marian Hossa
Winning goalie: Corey Crawford, 3 GA / .870 sv%
Losing goalie: Niklas Backstrom, 4 GA / .765 sv% (w/Darcy Kuemper 1 GA / .933 sv%)
Next games: Wednesday 3/6 at 7:00pm CST vs Colorado (NBCSN, TSN2); Friday 3/8 at 8:00pm CST vs Colorado (NHLN, CSN-CH+)