CHICAGO – Of all the Blackhawks’ defeats of the 2019-2020 season so far, you could argue that Saturday’s was the worst.
They held a 3-0 third period lead against the defending champion Blues on the road after dropping their previous three games in either regulation or overtime. Getting the win in St. Louis would have been a boost, but instead, the finish turned into a nightmare.
Four unanswered goals by the Blues turned victory into defeat, giving the Blackhawks just one point in their four games played last week. On top of that, they were back on the ice less than a day later to take on the Wild back at home at the United Center.
Then it almost happened again.
Patrick Kane gave the Blackhawks a two-goal lead by himself early, but Minnesota rallied to even the score at that number and then at three in the second period. Leads have been hard for Jeremy Colliton’s team to hold recently, but they were able to flip the script on Sunday.
Brandon Saad got his stick on a shot from near the blue line and tipped it past Kappo Kahkonen for the go-ahead goal with 6:27 to go to put the Blackhawks in front, then Kane added his third of the night on an empty-netter to seal the team’s 5-3 win over the Wild.
It snaps a four-game winless streak for the team that dates back to December 6th and gives the Blackhawks their first regulation win since they beat the Stars at home on November 26th.
Kane was the star as he netted his sixth-career hat trick in the victory and increased his goal total to a team-leading 18.
He got things off to the spirited start in the first with a goal 7:42 seconds into the first period then added another score under four minutes later to put the Blackhawks up 2-0. But 1:04 later, Minnesota started their rally as Eric Staal beat Robin Lehner to get the visitors on the board before the end of the period.
Kevin Fiala then proved a thorn in the side of the Blackhawks by tying the game twice in the second period. He brought things to even at two with a goal just 1:59 into the period, then answered David Kampf’s goal with his second of the game to even things up a three.
As Lehner held down the Wild’ offense after that, Saad came through with the tip that changed the narrative in the third, deflecting Connor Murphy’s long shot into the goal to make it 4-3. After a charge late by Minnesota, Kane finished it off by hitting the puck into the empty net to bring the hats down from the appreciative crowd.
It almost went the other way for the Blackhawks on Sunday night, just like it did on Saturday, but this time a painful loss was turned into a much-needed victory in a difficult middle of December.