Blackhawks Finally Beat Wild on Ninth Try
There was only one game on the National Hockey League schedule February 8th, but it matched the top two teams in the Central Division, as the first place Minnesota Wild and the second place Chicago Blackhawks faced off in St. Paul. The Wild lead, not only the Central Division, but the entire Western Conference. The Wild have been solid both offensively and defensively this season, multiple scoring threats throughout their lines and with goalie Devan Dubnyk at or near the top of the statistical categories for goalies. The Wild have had the Blackhawks number recently, at least in the regular season, having won the last eight games between the two. Minnesota won the first meeting this season 3-2 back on January 15th in Chicago. The Blackhawks have had the upper hand in the post season in recent years, eliminating Minnesota in three of the last four seasons, most recently in 2014-15 when they were swept in the second round.
Dubnyk did not start in goal for Minnesota; he had started three straight including a game the night before in Winnipeg. Backup Darcy Kuemper got the start. The Blackhawks had a 2-0 lead in the second period before Minnesota tied it on goals by Jared Spurgeon and Zach Parise. Chicago’s Richard Panik scored his 12th goal of the season at the 17:24 mark to give the Hawks a one goal lead at the second intermission.
Minnesota’s Erik Haula tied it up in the third with his 11th goal of the season, and the game went into overtime. Jonathan Toews scored a power play goal at 3:09 of the overtime to win it and break the Blackhawks’ eight game losing streak against the Wild.
The teams will play in St. Paul again on February 21st, and one final time in the regular season in Chicago on March 12th.