Blackhawks Roll Past Wild

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By Chris Kuc Tribune reporter

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Brandon Saad raced into the offensive zone, spun around a defenseman and put a behind-the-back pass right on the stick of Patrick Kane.

The flashiest move of the game resulted in a Kane goal that sealed the deal for the Hawks during a 5-1 victory over the Wild on Monday night at Xcel Energy Center. The highlight-reel score came after some good old-fashioned hard work had given the Hawks a lead they didn’t relinquish in snapping a two-game losing skid.

Saad and Kane each finished with a goal and an assist while Patrick Sharp, Sheldon Brookbank and Nick Leddy also scored to hand goaltender Corey Crawford more than enough offense to allow the Hawks to exact some revenge for a loss to the Wild on Saturday night at the United Center.

The Hawks improved to 7-2-3 with their largest margin of victory this season. Crawford made 29 saves–yielding only a Jason Pominville second-period goal–and Niklas Backstrom was on the receiving end of the Hawks’ offensive explosion a game after stifling the defending Stanley Cup champions.

The Hawks struck first late in the opening period and it came as the result of a workmanlike effort from Marian Hossa. The veteran winger engaged in a puck battle behind the Minnesota goal with Wild defenseman Ryan Suter and Hossa prevailed when he poked the puck to Sharp. After gathering the puck, Sharp tucked it past Backstrom to the stick side. It was Sharp’s second score of the season and snapped a five-game goalless skid.

In the second, Pominville tied it at 1-1 when the veteran unleashed a cannon shot from the right circle that Crawford barely flinched on as it sailed by him.

The Wild’s momentum was short-lived as the Hawks struck back just under two minutes later on Brookbank’s first goal of the season. Kane controlled a rebound of a Leddy shot that Marcus Kruger got a stick on en route to the net, circled behind the goal and fed Brookbank, who stepped into a one-timer and scored.

A little more than three minutes later, Leddy extended the lead to 3-1 with the Hawks on the power play. Defenseman Brent Seabrook made a strong effort to keep the puck in the offensive zone, found an open Leddy, who fired in a shot from the point.

It wasn’t all work and no play for the Hawks as Saad made one of the prettiest moves of the season to feed Kane for a goal that put the game out of reach. Saad raced into Wild zone, spun around Suter and sent a behind-the-back pass to his teammate and Kane shoveled it into the gaping net for a 4-1 Hawks lead.

Saad wasn’t done as he broke free and slipped the puck through Backstrom’s pads to put the game well out of reach.

The Wild’s Dany Heatley appeared in his 800th career game and Zenon Konopka his 300th.

Scratches for the Hawks were Michal Handzus (upper-body injury), Ben Smith (healthy) and Michal Rozsival (healthy). Sitting for the Wild were defensemen Keith Ballard and Jonas Brodin (broken cheek).


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