If the Blackhawks’ ‘one goal’ was to play a solid, sixty-minute game, Monday’s tilt against the Niklas Backstrom and the Minnesota Wild at home was a nice starting point – even if no style points were awarded in the game played without Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook.
The Hawks jumped out to a lead as the first half of the first period wound down. After Dave Bolland corralled a loose puck just outside the Wild zone, he fed Andrew Ladd for a one-timer in the slot. Ladd’s shot was stopped, but Bolland scooped in the rebound to give the Hawks’ the lead. They would never let it slip.
Then, with less than three minutes to play in the first frame, Troy Brouwer risked life and limb to get himself onto the porch of the Wild net. He took a shoulder – and nearly a skate blade – to the face while shoveling a juicy Backstrom rebound behind the Wild netminder. It was the Hawks’ lone power play goal on the evening.
Unfortunately for the Wild, their biggest mistake was scoring on the power play in the third period. Their goal was followed by five dominant minutes by the Blackhawks, which included another highlight reel goal by Patrick Kane. Kane dangled behind the net, emerged out front around Backstrom’s blocker side, and in one motion, spun towards his forehand side and roofed the puck into a spot above Backstrom’s shoulder that was no bigger than a square foot.
That’ll teach the Wild.
For the record, the Wild tally came on the power play when a loose puck found Andrew Brunette on the doorstep. He didn’t miss the gaping net.
I have plenty more thoughts on Monday’s game. Unfortunately, I also have dental work to be performed this morning. I promise other notes later this morning or during the very early afternoon. Until then, have at it.