Blackhawks lose to Wild 2-1 in regulation
The Blackhawks haven't lost many games in regulation this season, nor do they drop many games in the tail end of back-to-back games.
Tonight in Minnesota, they did both, losing 2-1 to the Wild in regulation after playing at Detroit last night.
Chicago looked lackluster in the first period - not surprising, as travel delays out of Detroit after a six-round shootout meant they didn't get to their St. Paul hotel until 3 a.m. Though they had some stretches of pressure in the Wild's end, they were outhit, outshot, and most importantly, outscored.
The Wild's first goal came from Jason Pominville, who continues to collect career points against the Blackhawks. Matt Cooke would put Minnesota up 2-0 when goalie Antti Raanta was caught out of position.
That is all the Wild would need, as they suffocated the Blackhawks offense for most of the rest of the game. Duncan Keith, Chicago's best defenseman and an important part of their offense, was out of the game due to illness, and his presence was significantly missed.
The Wild played the more disciplined game overall - taking just one penalty to the Blackhawks' four, and stifling Chicago's offense constantly.
While the Blackhawks showed a bit more life during the third, it became a case of too little, too late. Although they outshot the Wild 17-3 in the third (MN had only 19 SOG total), it took until the final 31.2 seconds -- when Patrick Kane scored, breaking his 11-game goal drought -- for Chicago to break the shut out against them. Despite a final onslaught against the Wild,
Minnesota is the only team to beat the Blackhawks in regulation more than once this season - in fact, they've done it three times.
1) Darcy Kuemper - MN (1 GAA, .971 sv%)
2) Matt Cooke - MN
3) Mikael Granlund - MN
Johnny Oduya was on the ice for three of Detroit's four regulation goals on Saturday night; then he was on the ice for both of Minnesota's goals tonight. Perhaps - with eight defensemen on Chicago's roster - he should sit out a game or two.
* * *
The Blackhawks head home to play their final home game before the Olympics on Sunday. In fact, Sunday's game versus the Jets will be the last game that the Blackhawks play at home until March 1st, when they face the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field for the Stadium Series game.
While Disney on Ice occupies the United Center, the Blackhawks head out on their second major Western road trip of the season. They'll start the trip with back-to-back games in Calgary and Vancouver, then head to the West coast to face all three California teams, before wrapping things up in Phoenix.
After that, ten Blackhawks fly to Sochi to represent Canada, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, and the U.S. They'll have one road game at the Rangers on February 27th, before finally coming home in time for the Stadium Series.