(Yeah, another lame title. Sorry about that).
On the surface, it looked like it would be a standard Hawks/Wild game on Versus: middle of the week in Minnesota, hot Wild team, strong defensively and Nick Backstrom in goal. This had 1-0 Wild win written all over it.
Sometimes, these things don’t go to script.
The Hawks and Wild played an end-to-end game game with the Hawks coming on top 4-3 in a shootout. It was an eventful night in St. Paul.
The Hawks started the stronger out of the two in the first, generating chance after chance but not being able to get one past Backstrom. Brain Bickell marked his return with a strong period, moving around well below the net but still not hitting anybody. Doesn't seem like a lot has changed on that front.
It took the Wild almost 17 minutes to get a shot on net and they were greeted with a Bronx Cheer from the Minnesota faithful. But the shot came after the Hawks had a 2 on 1 which they failed to convert. It was a sign of things to come. Minnesota will sit back and wait before they attack.
The Hawks finally broke though on a Hossa goal about midway through the second, on the power play none the less. The Hawks got traffic in front of Backstorm and were able to score and looked to be in control. Things got even better when Frolik scored his fifth of the year, which was unfortunate because I would love to see our very own Andrew eat his shoe. At the same time, I was also relieved to get a 2 goal lead in the second period. It seemed like the Hawks were in control and would not lose a nice lead they had in Minnesota. I mean really, who can remember the last time that happened....Oh yeah, right....never mind.
Minnesota got back into the game thanks to a no call on what seemed to be an obvious icing call and the fact that John Scott and Steve Montador were the defensive pairing on the ice at the time. Broadziak took the feed after strong skating by Nick Johnson, made a nice move to get Emery to commit and buried it into a more or less open net. There was a lot of talk about this one, but the moral of the story is to play to the whistle. It was a bad call, yes, but it’s not like this is the first time ever that an icing has been waived off. It was a mental brain fart which will surely just add fuel to the hatred.
Shortly after, Matt Cullen took a pass from Cal Clutterbuck to tie the game at 2 heading into the third. Once again, it was another instance of thinking of “here we go again...”
Part of Minnesota’s game all year has been building to have a strong third period. Despite starting the period as the stronger team, Toews lost a face off, won the puck anyway and got Backstrom to commit too early and roofed home a goal to make it 3-2. Minnesota kept up the pressure and it only felt like a goal was coming. Sure enough, Cal Clutterbuck fed Mikko Koivu to tie the game at 3 with a little over five minutes left. A combination of a delayed penalty/Minnesota extra skater, Hammer going to the ice too early and Leddy screening Emery led to the goal.
Teams had their chances in OT (Specifically, Leddy botching the feed from Hossa) and we all dreaded an Emery vs. Backstrom shootout. Toews buried his shot after Matt Cullen got stoned by Emery. In round 2, Speed Racer failed to get a shot off leading to Kane making a joke of a shootout and putting Backstrom on his rear end again, giving the Hawks the victory.
Always nice to get a win, but it seems like everybody gets a point in games they play against the Hawks. It would be nice to see the Hawks close more teams out in regulation, but considering the points debacle we got in at the end of last season, I’ll take this. Also, somewhat quietly, the Hawks have gone 7-1-1 in their last 9. With other teams around the league getting bit by the injury bug and a lot of home games before a brutal travel schedule in February, it’s key to get the points when possible.
Overall, a good win and Jonathan Toews is all that is man.
Ducks up next on Friday at the UC.