Big win for the Wild tonight as it ended Chicago’s six-game winning streak – the best start in Blackhawks history – with a 3-2 shootout win to sweep its back-to-back homestand.
Matt Cullen and Cal Clutterbuck scored their first goals of the season, Zach Parise and Cullen scored in the shootout and Niklas Backstrom, who replaced Josh Harding 6:45 into the game after Harding gave up two goals on four shots, was spotless with 28 saves the rest of the way.
The Wild, 4-2-1, now has points in three in a row as it leaves Thursday for a two-game trip to Anaheim and Phoenix.
Backstrom had to be good. The Wild registered four shots in the second and two in the third (outshot 11-2 in the third period). Read the game story for more on Backstrom.
The Wild looked like a team that played the night before. Icings a few feet from the red line, turnovers and scrambles, etc. Coach Mike Yeo felt the Wild created issues for itself by overextending shifts and having some bad changes.
But before that, the Wild was in control of the game and did a good job limiting the chances of Chicago’s most threatening stars.
Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin had a terrific game, with Suter, who has been taking IV’s the last couple days because he’s been sick, logging another 30-minute night. Brodin again, just sensational. There were a couple shifts where he suavely fended off some of the Blackhawks’ most elite players. Again, 19 years old.
Tom Gilbert again was awesome on both ends of the ice.
Cullen scored 90 seconds in off Mikael Granlund’s rebound.
But Harding had an off night and the Blackhawks rallied to take a 2-1 lead. You can tell he was fighting the puck early. Seemed a little surprised by Marian Hossa’s shot from way out, then was beaten by Patrick Sharp but saved by the crossbar.
Then Andrew Shaw and Jonathan Toews scored 91 seconds apart, and for the first time in Harding’s home career, he was pulled for a non-injury. Yeo felt terrible but said it was the right move at the time, saying that Harding wasn’t given the best chance to prepare for the game by no pregame skate and limited work in Monday’s practice.
It was clear he was just fighting it tonight.
Yeo played a lot of the second and third lines down the stretch. The top line has played hard minutes lately, Yeo said, and were terrific early in the game, but it was clear to Yeo that the top line was tired. Dany Heatley really looked spent.
Granlund had some tough shifts in the defensive zone, but he was hardly the only one. He does need some pine tar on his stick or something. Dropped it four or five times tonight.
But Granlund was one of the few forwards with legs late, so Yeo kept throwing him over the boards. Yeo said tonight was a positive step for Granlund (drew a minor for a 5-on-3, lots of offensive chances created), was moving his feet, saved a goal in overtime. He wasn’t worried putting him on the ice.
Good game from Clutterbuck, too, who’s had a real good start to the year and was finally rewarded with a goal.
Anyway, big two points obviously and against a real good team. Wild is now 2-0 in the second of back-to-backs (Harding shutout vs. Dallas).
The team is off to Anaheim on Thursday. There is no practice, so there may be no blog unless there’s news. But I’ll be with you from SoCal Friday. Jared Spurgeon is coming on the trip, but he hasn’t played or practiced in more than a week, so Phoenix would probably be the earliest he can play if that.
More from Star Tribune
More from Russo's Rants
The Wild trimmed its roster by four more this morning. It now stands at 38, but that includes injured players Gustav Olofsson, Sam Anas, Max Fortunus, Dylan Labbe and Chase Lang.
Erik Haula will make his exhibition debut against the Jets with a lineup filled out by young players hoping to stick with the Wild.
With the Iowa Wild set to open training camp in Des Moines on Friday, Adam Gilmour, Adam Vay, Guillaume Gelinas and Alex Gudbranson were assigned there.
New coach Bruce Boudreau just laughed when asked his thoughts of the game. He wanted to be politically correct.
The Wild, fresh off a 2-1 preseason win against Buffalo, plays host to the Avalanche in its home preseason opener.
Recommended For You
Plunging deeper into campaign controversy, Donald Trump publicly shamed a former beauty queen on Friday for her "disgusting" sexual past and then — in one of presidential history's more bizarre moments — encouraged Americans to watch a "sex tape" he said would support his case.
The 2017 rates released Friday are for the individual market where about 5 percent of state residents buy coverage.
Hillary's role is fair game, sure, but people who sleep in glass houses and all that ...
Allina says it compromised, union is neutral on offer.
The $100 billion in subsidies they receive now will still be needed for another 24 years.
Recommended For You
Sam Bradford has shown the ability to throw downfield but not always the willingness.
Sam Bradford gives the Vikings a starting-caliber quarterback for this season and an insurance policy in the event that Teddy Bridgewater is not ready to return in 2017.
Before Teddy Bridgewater went down because of a season-ending knee injury, the Vikings felt they would draft no higher than the late 20s next spring.
The Vikings filled out the 10-man practice squad Sunday, including nine returning players who had been waived a day before and went unclaimed on the wire 24 hours later.
All three 2016 draft picks the Vikings cut this weekend were brought back: offensive lineman Willie Beavers, German wide receiver Moritz Bohringer and defensive end Stephen Weatherly.