A second-straight thrilling game goes against the Blackhawks in Minnesota
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – It’s almost as if the group has a bit of an extra step early in this 2018-2019 season.
There was evidence in the first three games as the Blackhawks scored 15 goals – some from young and some from older players – in picking up five-of-six possible points. It was an up-tempo, offensive brand of hockey that was a bit reminiscent of the early days of the current run.
With three full days off between Sunday’s game with the Maple Leafs and Thursday’s contest with the Wild in St. Paul, many were wondering if Joel Quenneville’s team could keep up the torrid pace.
Indeed they did in Minnesota – doing so both with the offense and the excitement of the contest. Unfortunately, they were one defensive stop short of a victory.
The Wild scored a goal with 23 seconds left to tie the Blackhawks in the third period, then won the game in overtime on a breakaway goal by Jason Zucker. While the visitors still get a point for reaching overtime, the 4-3 defeat is a bit frustrating considering how close the game to earning the full two points.
Once again the Blackhawks got on the board early thanks to the Alex DeBrincat, Jonathan Toews, and Dominik Kahun line. DeBrincat got the first goal with just over halfway through the first period, then Kahun added his first career goal just under two minutes later to make it 2-0.
Minnesota responded with two scores in the second from Eric Staal and Zucker, but DeBrincat’s second goal of the night in the third gave the Blackhawks the lead. But the Wild had the answer with just 23 seconds to go in the game, when Ryan Suter snuck the puck past Cam Ward for the game-tying, shorthanded goal (5-on-5 with a Minnesota penalty and the goalie pulled) to send the game to overtime.
Even with a 4-on-3 advantage to start the overtime session, the Blackhawks couldn’t get a few good chances into the Minnesota net. Ward held his own till late in the overtime session, when Zucker snuck the puck past him to give the Wild a victory that was so close to belonging to the visitors in another exciting game.