Corey Crawford shines, Jonathan Toews scores game-winner as Blackhawks beat Wild in OT

Corey Crawford shines, Jonathan Toews scores game-winner as Blackhawks beat Wild in OT

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Corey Crawford was his usually cool self after Wednesday’s game, the inconclusive review that went against the Blackhawks and took quite a long time to figure out didn’t seem as much of a big deal anymore.

“I mean, sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t. It’s a fast game, tough for the refs to call everything you want and call it perfectly,” he said. “I know in the moment you want to swear at them and break your stick, but sometimes you just don’t get it and you have to keep playing.”

The Blackhawks did keep playing. Crawford kept stopping pucks. And by the end, despite that lengthy look and a lost lead in regulation, the Blackhawks got the necessary two points.

Crawford stopped 35 of 38 shots and Jonathan Toews had the game-winning goal in overtime, part of his three-point night, as the Blackhawks beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3. The Blackhawks are now five points behind the Wild, who still lead the Western Conference.

Ryan Hartman had his third goal in as many games and Richard Panik scored his 12th of the season. Nick Schmaltz also scored. It was a great game with a few interesting moments – including that lengthy review on Zach Parise’s game-tying goal, which the Blackhawks thought was offside, in the second period. But the Blackhawks kept their cool and got through it.

“Huge win,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We had to win the game, keep us within striking distance [of the Wild]. They were on such a roll, first game back off a road trip and a tough game for them. I thought Crow was big down the stretch. Jonny had a big game. We did a lot of good things and had the start we were looking for as well. Tough to give up that one at the very end [of regulation] but certainly getting two points was important.”

The Blackhawks had a 2-0 lead thanks to Hartman and Schmaltz’s goal. But the Wild, who were coming off a victory in Winnipeg on Tuesday night, never looked fatigued and responded after Schmaltz’s score. Jared Spurgeon scored first before Parise scored on his own rebound. The Blackhawks claimed offside on their review but, after officials looked at it for more than five minutes, they deemed their views inconclusive and the goal stood. The NHL explanation was this:

Review was not conclusive in determining whether Parise had had tagged up at the instant the puck touched Charlie Coyle's stick. According to Rule 78.7, “If a review is not conclusive and/or there is any doubt whatsoever as to whether the call on the ice was correct, the On-Ice Official(s) will be instructed to confirm their original call.” 

The result was frustrating. So was the delay.

“Tough time to wait that long and it end up being a goal,” Hartman said. “But we responded well and kept with it.”

Full marks to Crawford, who may have had his best post-appendectomy game on Wednesday night. Many of the opportunities Crawford stopped were stellar, as the Wild got to the doorstep too often.

“He certainly was huge,” Quenneville said. “Had to make [stops on] some dangerous plays, a couple key ones there in overtime. Nice to see him get big win for us and break that schneid that we had against this team. Certainly nice to break it.”

The Blackhawks broke the Wild’s regular-season hex on them. It wasn’t easy and it took a little longer than they expected but they kept their cool.

“That was a big win for us against one of the best teams in the league for now. Some good momentum for us on the road, too,” Crawford said. “Just have to bring that to the next game.”

How will the Blackhawks utilize Kirby Dach?

Detroit Red Wings

How will the Blackhawks utilize Kirby Dach?

The Blackhawks recalled No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach from his AHL conditioning stint on Friday night after he appeared in three games with the Rockford IceHogs. He missed the first week of training camp with a concussion and the organization wanted him to get a taste of the pro action and back up to speed after not playing in any preseason games, either.

"I enjoyed the experience there," Dach said. "I had a lot of fun. Got to see a couple buddies. It was good for me to get down there and get some pro games under my belt and just feel what the pace is going to be like. It'll be another step up here, but I feel good and I feel like I'm ready to go."

Whether Dach makes his NHL debut on Sunday against the Washington Capitals won't be revealed by head coach Jeremy Colliton until after morning skate on Sunday. But where does he fit into the lineup going forward?

The Blackhawks are 2-0-1 in their past three games and aren't necessarily looking to shake up their rotation, even though they're still searching for consistency on all four lines.

The easy answer is for Dach to slide into a third-line center role behind Jonathan Toews and Dylan Strome, but the trio of David Kampf, Dominik Kubalik and Brandon Saad has undoubtedly been the most consistent for the Blackhawks this season. And we saw in the home opener what happened when they were separated. 

The Blackhawks held an optional practice on Saturday morning and didn't run through line rushes, but before Dach was assigned to Rockford, he took several spins on the first line with Toews and alternated with Drake Caggiula and Alex DeBrincat. It's possible Dach starts on the wing, where he can play top-six minutes and not have as much responsibility as a center would.

"I've played wing in previous years, so it's not something that's new to me," Dach said. "At the same time I'm open-minded to just getting into the lineup and helping the team win."

The Blackhawks can give Dach up to nine NHL games before deciding whether they want to burn the first year of his entry-level contract or send him back to the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL.

"As a kid you always grow up dreaming of playing in the NHL, so there'll be nerves," Dach said. "But there will also be a lot of excitement. I've just got to do my best to focus on my game and be ready to play whenever my name's called upon by the coaching staff."

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks scratch out a win and Kirby Dach recalled

USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks scratch out a win and Kirby Dach recalled

Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis welcome Nick Gismondi into the fold before discussing Friday's win over Columbus. Robin Lehner played stellar and is forming quite a tandem in net with Corey Crawford (4:10), while the DeBrincat/Kane connection is alive and well (6:10), and the Blackhawks' struggles at even strength continued (12:10). Then, the guys react to the breaking news of Kirby Dach's recall from Rockford and discuss where he might fit into this lineup (15:10).

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast


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