Kuemper makes early goals stand up against Blackhawks

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 24, 2014 - 12:19 AM

The Wild’s Darcy Kuemper stopped 33 shots, missing out on a shutout in the game’s final minute.

view larger photos

  

The question was: How would the Wild respond?

Tuesday, against a mediocre Dallas team the Wild had been both listless and scoreless. Thursday the opponent was the team with second-best record in the Western Conference.

In a 2-1 victory over the mighty Chicago Blackhawks at Xcel Energy Center, the Wild:

• Came out with amazing focus in a first period to take a 2-0 lead.

• Spent the rest of the game using an effective forecheck to stymie Chicago’s transition offense.

• Came 32 seconds away from handing the defending Stanley Cup champion its first shutout in 120 games.

Response? Affirmative.

“That is what we were looking for,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said. “I think it’s a great sign for our team. Hopefully it’s the type of game that builds confidence.”

Jason Pominville and Matt Cooke each scored for the Wild in the first period. Pominville’s goal, his team-leading 20th, came at the end of one of the prettiest rushes by the team this season. Cooke’s tally came minutes after the Wild had failed to score in two minutes’ worth of a 5-on-3 power play, at a point when the game’s momentum could have shifted.

Goaltender Darcy Kuemper was solid for most of the game and better than that at the start of the third period, when the Blackhawks had a number of chances in the first minute. And he did it while wearing Niklas Backstrom’s mask for a good stretch of the second period after his was dented by a shot to the face.

“It didn’t fit me too well,” Kuemper said. “It was hard to see out of. So I had to focus a little bit more there.”

By the way, the game also featured the return of Zach Parise, back on the ice after missing 14 games because of a foot injury. But that wasn’t the top story Thursday. Not even close.

A solid team effort was. The Wild was outshot 34-19, but the scoring chances, while generally limited, were about the same for both teams.

“The biggest thing was how we were going to respond,” Pominville said. “We weren’t too pleased with our effort in Dallas. Tonight, this was a solid effort after a pretty average effort in Dallas.”

In a crisp first period, the Wild took a 1-0 lead on one of the slickest plays of the season. Pominville carried the puck into the zone along the right boards, then sent the puck across to Dany Heatley, who sent it to Mikael Granlund in the slot. Granlund sucked everybody — including Blackhawks goalie Antti Raanta — to one side, then sent a no-look pass back to Pominville, who was skating through the right circle. Pominville scored into essentially an open net.

“Just a lucky guess,” Granlund said of sensing Pominville’s presence. “Sometimes it happens.”

Said Pominville: “He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t really need to know I’m there, he just has a feel for it.”

Then, minutes after the failed 5-on-3, Cooke converted from the right circle after a lunging pass from Justin Fontaine.

  • related content

  • BOXSCORE: Wild 2, Chicago 1

    Thursday January 23, 2014

  • Parise back after stint as Olympic 'model'

    Friday January 24, 2014

    The Team USA outfits for the Opening and Closing Ceremony at the Sochi Olympics were announced Thursday. Certain athletes — including Zach Parise — were pictured wearing the clothes.

  • Wild-Chicago game recap

    Thursday January 23, 2014

    GAME RECAPSTAR TRIBUNE’S THREE STARS1. Darcy Kuemper, Wild: The young goalie stuffed the Stanley Cup champions, making 33 saves and...

  • Postgame: A big home victory for Wild before tough road trip

    Thursday January 23, 2014

    Wild beats Chicago for third time in four tries this season

  • Darcy Kuemper in action Thursday at Xcel Energy Center.

  • Zach Parise made his return to the Wild lineup against Chicago after missing 14 games because of a foot injury.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati - LP: J. Broxton 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson 2
Minnesota - LP: T. May 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 9
NY Yankees - WP: C. Capuano 6 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle 3
Philadelphia - LP: J. Diekman 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 4
Boston - WP: A. Ranaudo 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: C. Archer 4
Miami - LP: C. Hatcher 2 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: D. Carpenter 5
Cleveland 4 Bottom 6th Inning
Kansas City 0
Detroit 7 Bottom 7th Inning
Chicago WSox 1
Texas 13 Top 8th Inning
Houston 2
Chicago Cubs 7 Top 9th Inning
St. Louis 2
Colorado 0 Top 5th Inning
Arizona 0
Oakland 0 Top 3rd Inning
LA Angels 0
Los Angeles 0 Top 3rd Inning
San Diego 1
Washington 1 Bottom 2nd Inning
Seattle 2
Milwaukee 0 Top 2nd Inning
San Francisco 3
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 4th Qtr 10:52
Western Ky 52
TX-San Antonio 14 3rd Qtr
Houston 0
Colorado State 7 3rd Qtr
Colorado 10
UNLV 0 1st Qtr 11:03
Arizona 0
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Houston 1 2nd Half 44:55
Sporting Kansas City 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 31 3rd Qtr
Phoenix 42

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close