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.”