Wild edge Blackhawks, take over first in West

Wild edge Blackhawks, take over first in West

The few times coach Joel Quenneville decides to go with seven defensemen, as he did on Sunday, that usually means Patrick Kane is going to get a ton of playing time.

He did, and Kane was outstanding. It was what the Blackhawks gave up that was the bigger problem as far as Quenneville was concerned.

Kane scored two goals but the Minnesota Wild scored three unanswered goals as they came back to beat the Blackhawks 3-2 on Sunday night. The Blackhawks have now lost two in a row and fall out of first place. That now belongs to the Wild, who are 17-1-1 in their last 19 games. 

It's surprising that it took until mid-January for the Blackhawks and Wild to finally play this season but their first meeting did not disappoint. It was an entertaining one, at least through the first two periods. Kane, who played just over 27 minutes, was a big part of the show and staked the Blackhawks to a 2-0 lead early in the second period.

"I just tried to make the right play," Kane said. "I had a couple chances early in the game to try and get some pucks at the net. After that, I think it's a combination of getting free, being able to throw some pucks in there, a couple good chances but the amount of ice time you're going to get more looks, too."

What happened on the other side, however, wasn't as much to Quenneville's liking. Nino Niederreiter scored a power-play goal about two minutes after Kane had given the Blackhawks their 2-0 lead, and then Chris Stewart's left-point laser about five minutes later tied the game 2-2.

Jason Pominville had the dagger early in the third period. Standing alone on Corey Crawford's left side, Pominville had an open shot when Marco Scandella's shot hit the backboard and caromed right to him.

"[First two goals] we could've done something different on them and the third was a bang-bang play with a fortunate bounce," Quenneville said. "I can say I didn't like the third goal as well but the other two were like cardinal sins."

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

The Blackhawks got the right start in this one, thanks in large part to Kane, whose 13th goal of the season put the Blackhawks up 1-0 just 4:33 into the game. The Blackhawks, who were stinging after that horrible 6-0 loss to the Washington Capitals on Friday, pounced on a Wild team that was coming off a 5-4 victory in Dallas on Saturday night.

But while the Blackhawks still had great scoring opportunities in the second – credit Devan Dubnyk for only allowing one the rest of the way – the Wild capitalized on theirs.

The Blackhawks' run atop the Western Conference is over for now. Their Sunday night was a heck of a lot better than their Friday night. Still, it was a weekend in which the Blackhawks could have regained some momentum. Instead, they couldn't even gain a point.

"It's frustrating. We just needed to play better and finish these games and play better in the third period in tight games like that against a very good team," Artem Anisimov said. "Just didn't get it done."

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Reacting to Round 1 of NHL Draft


Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Reacting to Round 1 of NHL Draft

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis recap Round 1 of the 2018 NHL Draft.

They discuss the pair of puck-carrying defensemen that the Blackhawks selected on Friday, Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin. When can we expect to see these first-round picks play in the NHL?

Boyle also goes 1-on-1 with Boqvist and Beaudin. The guys spoke with Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville on Friday.

The guys also share their biggest takeaways from those interviews, which includes your daily Corey Crawford update and Quenneville appeared excited that the team has plenty of cap space to spend in free agency.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Blackhawks add another defenseman to pipeline, draft Nicolas Beaudin at No. 27

Blackhawks add another defenseman to pipeline, draft Nicolas Beaudin at No. 27

DALLAS — Despite taking Adam Boqvist with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Blackhawks took a second defenseman at No. 27 with the selection of Nicolas Beaudin.

Beaudin is a 5-foot-11, 172-pound defenseman who prides himself on playing strong at both ends of the ice and tries modeling his game after Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins.

"I’m a two-way defenseman," Beaudin said. "I can provide offense, too. I’ve got a great IQ. I think in my zone I’m just getting better and better."

Beaudin is also a left-handed shot, which is something the Blackhawks could use more of in the organization along the blue line when it comes to impact-type players.

"Nicolas is a very efficient defender," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. "He’s got a really nice skill set. He makes the game look pretty easy. He’s a smooth player, not a lot of panic to his game. He’s a good skater so when he has to turn back and get to the puck he can get there first. Usually he just gets his setup and makes the simple play.

"You watch him play and he makes it look really easy. He’s not a guy that’s getting run over a lot. He’s not a real big player, but he uses his brain really well and he had over a point a game, too. He’s got a good feel for making plays and scoring points."

The 18-year-old registered 69 points (12 goals, 57 assists) in 68 games with the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL, and added three goals and eight assists in 10 postseason contests.

Beaudin is the third defenseman the Blackhawks have taken in the first round the last two years, with Henri Jokiharju and Boqvist being the other two.

"It’s a winning culture in Chicago," Beaudin said. "They won a lot. I know they’ve got some young guys coming in. For sure in the next few years I want to earn my place and I want to try to learn a lot from a guy like Duncan Keith."