Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild at the United Center on Thursday:
1. Collin Delia steals the show
Delia's first career start at the United Center came on March 29, 2018 against Winnipeg — better known as The Scott Foster Game — when he stopped 25 of 27 shots (.926 save percentage) in 45:59 of action before leaving with an injury. He eventually was credited with the win.
Let's just say this one probably felt a little better.
The 24-year-old netminder made a career-high 46 saves on 48 shots for a save percentage of .958, earning his third win in four NHL starts and second this season. It's the most saves in a non-overtime victory for the Blackhawks since Dec. 11, 2002 when Jocelyn Thibault stopped 46 shots, according to NBC Sports Chicago's stats guru Chris Kamka. He was locked in all night.
"He’s been good," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "Can’t say I’m that surprised that he’s performed as he has. He’s very self-aware and I think he built up a lot of confidence last season, that he was capable and he could go through tough times and he could go through adversity and it’s not gonna bother him. He had played a game or two last year and so he’s ready. It’s fun to watch. He’s been good for us."
2. Hat-trick Kane
A three-day break didn't stop Kane from staying hot. He recorded his seventh career NHL hat trick (fifth in the regular season) and, by doing so, extended his point streak to six games, which ties a season long.
Kane is now one of two active players to score at least 20 goals in each of their first 12 NHL seasons, joining Alex Ovechkin who's accomplished that feat 14 years in a row. Jonathan Toews is at 16 goals this season and likely to join the club Kane and Ovechkin are in, too.
Brandon Saad also scored two goals, and both he and Kane were on the ice for the final minutes as they looked to secure the hat trick and victory. It was Kane who got it.
"It’s fun, it's always nice to produce," Kane said. "It was funny. Me and Saad were both on the ice at the same time, so we were kind of just trying to play hockey and make the right play and hopefully one of us finish it off. It was a different situation, for sure.”
3. A lopsided shooting percentage
The Wild were in control for the majority of the game. They had a season-high 85 shot attempts (48 on goal) compared to the Blackhawks 47 attempts (20 on goal). But it was the latter who converted on their opportunities.
The Blackhawks scored three goals on their first 10 shots of the game, prompting Bruce Boudreau to put in Alex Stalock for Devan Dubnyk, who had a .961 save percentage in his past five starts against Chicago going into the game.
"I hate pulling goalies," Boudreau said. "But I just didn't think he was seeing the puck well."
The Blackhawks finished with five goals on 20 shots for a shooting percentage of 25.0. The Wild had only two goals on 48 shots for a shooting percentage of 4.2.
“I don’t think we played the best tonight, but we just found a way to win," Kane said. "That’s something we’ve got to learn to do in here. We don’t have our best some nights. I thought Delia was unreal in net and really held the fort for us. Obviously nice to get out to a lead and build on it, so a few good things, but a few things we need to work on, too.”
4. Power play picking up steam
For the first time this season, the Blackhawks scored two power-play goals in the same game. They were the only team in the NHL that had yet do do that.
But it wasn't just a one-game fluke. The Blackhawks have scored at least one power play in four of their last five games, and are no longer in the basement of the NHL in that department.
"I’ve said it before, I thought we were trending in the right way, the puck just wasn’t going in the net," Colliton said. "You look back at that Montreal game, probably could have scored two or three that game. And then tonight, we made some plays and we had our chances. The second one, we’ll take it. But that’s how hockey works sometimes."
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