The Blackhawks didn’t come away with the two points but there was some relief in getting one.
“I still think it’s a step in the right direction from the way we played before,” Duncan Keith said.
Sure, the Blackhawks still need to be better from the start of games. But considering it didn’t look like the Blackhawks would get any points with how they looked about seven minutes into the second period, yeah, they’ll take it.
Andrew Shaw scored his 12th goal of the season but Charlie Coyle won it in a shootout as the Minnesota Wild beat the Blackhawks 3-2 on Sunday night. The Blackhawks remain in third place in the Central Division with 91 points. The Dallas Stars, their opponent on Tuesday, are in first with 95 points and the St. Louis Blues are second with 93 points.
Scott Darling stopped 32 of 34 shots through regulation and overtime. Coyle’s shootout winner is the only shot that has gotten past Darling in the four shootouts he’s played.
The Blackhawks let another great opportunity slip early when they got four minutes' worth of power play off Zach Parise's double-minor high-sticking. They got just two shots on goal in those four minutes.
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“Yeah, it’s slowed down here a little bit,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “It’s been our bread and butter all year long and it’s been, I don’t know how many games in a row without any production. So that slows down a little of our offense and team game.”
Nino Niederreiter’s 18th goal of the season gave the Wild a 2-0 lead 7:04 into the second period. About 90 seconds later, Shaw provided the spark — and the goal — that woke the Blackhawks up. Shaw slipped into the slot and scored, his shot trickling through Devan Dubnyk to cut Minnesota’s lead to 2-1. About five minutes later fellow fourth liner Richard Panik scored his fourth of the season, a wraparound that tied the game 2-2. Shaw was effective the entire game and earned some 3-on-3 time later.
“I thought he had a lot going on for us tonight. He brought us energy, got the first goal, made several plays where the puck was protected with motion and movement,” Quenneville said. “I thought that line was very good for us.”
Darling was stellar in the third period, when the Wild outshot the Blackhawks 13-7.
“I felt good today,” Darling said. “The two goals [Minnesota scored] were broken plays that everyone got scrambled around. Unfortunate, but other than those I felt good.”
The Blackhawks got through overtime, including a 4-on-3 penalty kill — Zach Parise, who had a chance to win it with Darling out of position, hit the side of the net. But while Coyle scored on Darling, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin came up empty on the other end.
The Blackhawks could have used two points. The gap at the top of the Central is growing some. But for a team that’s been struggling lately, and was once again down two goals on Sunday, any point is good right now.
“You keep competing,” Shaw said. “You look at the little things we did right to put ourselves in a better spot in the second period. You build on it.”