ST. PAUL, Minn. The Blackhawks have had a few habits lately. One is playing into overtime or the shootout. The other is their captains propensity to be there in big moments.
Jonathan Toews notched his 300th point on an assist, his 301st on a late regulation goal and then scored the shootout winner in the Blackhawks 4-3 decision over the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night. It was the third victory in a row for the Blackhawks; they havent been comfortable triumphs, but theyve been triumphs nonetheless.
Weve had a few games that have been going to the end like that, and it kind of builds your confidence if you find a way to win that one, Toews said. We expected it was going to be a tight, hard-fought game that went right to the end. And we found a way to win, so were happy about that.
Toews just about found a way to win it in regulation, as he made a pretty move to the front of the net to beat Niklas Backstrom for a 3-2 advantage early in the third period. But Mikko Koivu scored on a delayed penalty with about five minutes remaining in regulation.
So Toews led off the Blackhawks shootout by beating Backstrom five-hole for the winning shot. Patrick Kane then made a nifty slow-down move to end the Wilds night.
I just slowed down and waited for the goalie to bite, Kane said. I didnt know which way to go. I was ready to bring it back to my backhand or forehand and he bit on the backhand. Pretty good finish.
Ray Emery was in there for another victory, stopping 27 of 30 shots. Coach Joel Quenneville said theyll talk Thursday on whether or not Emery starts Friday against the Anaheim Ducks.
The Blackhawks had a 2-0 lead early in the second period before Kyle Brodziak scored to cut it to 2-1. The Blackhawks were anticipating an icing call on the play that led to Brodziaks goal but didnt get it.
I talked to the official. I appreciate way they saw it, Quenneville said. Its one of those calls you still have to keep playing.
The Blackhawks and Wild had the expected outing: tough, hard-fought, tight. Thats what happens when the top two teams in the West square off, and its likely to continue next season when the two teams are in the same conference.
And right now, the Blackhawks are winning those type of games.
Its kind of tough giving up the lead but seems like a lot of our games have been going to OT or shootout. Its just the way its going to be, Kane said. The NHLs so tight, just have to be ready for it.