Poor Goaltending Costs Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks Win 4-2


94. Final. 2. 98. 4

Playing with passion while outshooting the Chicago Blackhawks by a 2-1 margin, the Minnesota Wild lost in large part due to miserable goaltending; with Niklas Backstrom giving up 3 goals on 19 shots. Losing 9 of its last 11 games including 3 straight, The Minnesota Wild finds its season in serious jeopardy.

Good Evening, Wild fans. Our beloved Minnesota Wild forwards and defensemen played a great game tonight, but Niklas Bacsktrom couldn’t backstop the team to a win. Jason Zucker scored his team-leading 15th of the season, Jason Pominville added a power play goal, and 4 separate Wild skaters had 5 or more shots on goal. In spite of this inspired performance, the Wild couldn’t pull off the win.

Before we get to my notes, J.P Parise, longtime member of the Minnesota North Stars and father of

Zach Parise

, passed away last night after a long battle with Lung cancer. The Wild opened the game with a touching video tribute you can see below. The team also wore helmet decals honoring #11 throughout the game. Check out

our coverage

with quotes from all around the league for more. The thoughts and prayers of the staff at Gone Puck Wild is with the Parise family tonight.

First period:

Great opening period for the Minnesota Wild, who seemed to jump early and often on the visiting Blackhawks. Jordan Schroeder, the University of Minnesota product recalled from Iowa Thursday morning, had a great scoring chance in the first minute that didn’t quite have enough to get past Corey Crawford.

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  • In serendipitous fashion, Ryan Suter fired a shot in to the offensive zone that hit one of the stanchions, bounced and landed squarely in front of Crawford, who scrambled in to the goalmouth.

    5 minutes in, Patrick Sharp put the Blackhawks on the board. Collecting a puck that bounced off Christian Folin, Sharp skated to the goal mouth, reached around Backstrom, and tucked the puck in to a wide open net. 1-0 Blackhawks at 05:08 of the first period. It was just the second shot on goal for the ‘Hawks. Frankly, Backstrom should have stopped it. Frustrating.

    Nicklas Hjalmarsson sent the Minnesota Wild to its first power play of the night with a silly delay of game penalty. Seriously, there was nobody around him and he put a little too much on his clearing attempt. The Wild managed one shot on goal but used the opportunity to hold the zone for a bit, which was really nice to see.

    Jordan Schroeder had a couple great tip-in chance that was denied by Crawford

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    Thomas Vanek took a 5-minute major for a dangerous check on Marcus Kruger. Kruger was facing the Blackhawk bench without the puck when Vanek lowered his shoulder and hit Kruger in the back, sending him chin first in to the dasher. On replay, it looked like Vanek was going for a shoulder to shoulder check and Kruger turned at the last second; however, the end result was Vanek in the box for boarding.

    The Wild held the Blackhawks to 1 goal on 6 shots over the course of five minutes. Giving up a With under a minute left, Patrick Kane was the recipient of a beautiful passing play and potted home his 20th of the year in to a wide open goal to make it 2-0 Blackhawks at 16:19 of the first period.

    Shots after one period: Chicago Blackhawks 10, Minnesota Wild 7

    Second Period:

    It took the Wild 63 seconds to respond as Jason Zucker got his team leading 15th goal of the year.

    With good zone pressure throughout the first minute, Zucker teed up a one-timer that missed the net and was scooped up by

    Mikko Koivu

    . Koivu passed off for Jason Pominville behind the net and Pommer let Zucker try the one-timer again. Zucker’s second attempt flew up and over Crawford’s glove to make it

    2-1 Blackhawks at 01:03 of the second period.

    The Camera panned to Crawford and he looked like he wanted it back.

    That was the only goal in the second, but the Wild never seemed to leave the offensive zone. Vanek hit the crossbar around 10 minutes in. Hearing that clang is still heartbreaking for me. It’s the sound of a good shot wasted.

    Ryan Carter got denied on a quick door-step attempt.

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  • The Wild got a third power play in the 12th minute and had two quality chances, including a fabulous feed from Charlie Coyle to Jared Spurgeon. With a wide open net, Spurgeon hit the base of the goal post. Again, what a heart-wrenching sound.

    The Wild killed off a penalty to end the second period. Heading to the locker room, the Wild outshot the ‘Hawks 19-5, nearly a 4 to 1 margin.

    Shots after two periods: Chicago Blackhawks 14, Minnesota Wild 26

    3rd period:

    Pretty quiet opening to the 3rd period, honestly. The Wild had opportunity after opportunity to tie the game, but couldn’t put a quality shot on Crawford.

    Bryan Bickell, who ALWAYS scores when he comes to town put the Blackhawks up by a pair. With a play that started behind their net, Brad Richards fed Patrick Kane in to the offensive zone. Kane stick handled twice and dropped off for Bickell who fired a slapshot form the top of the left face-off circle that flew past Backstrom. Once again, Backstrom should have had it. Once again, frustrating. 3-1 Blackhawks at 06:20 of the third period.

    In the 13th minute, the Wild went back to the power play and ended up earning a 5-on-3 for about 35 seconds. Finally, the Wild converted with a 2-man advantage. Pominville, camped out and unprotected just above the left face-off dot, took a feed from Vanek and fired a huge slap shot that hit the near post and snuck in to the net. The puck slid out of the net so fast that

    Nino Niederreiter

    collected the rebound and fired it in just in case.

    3-2 Blackhawks at 14:55 of the third period.

    With wind in their sails, the Wild fired shot after shot at Crawford and even forced a few icings, but Crawford couldn’t be beat.

    Backstrom made his way to the bench with a little over a minute and a half remaining. Ryan Suter had the lone shot on goal and shot attempt with the extra skater. Suter’s second shot attempt was blocked in front, and cleared past the blue line to a waiting Bickell. Bickell added an empty net goal to make it 4-2 Blackhawks at 19:00 of the 3rd period. Game over, Minnesota Wild lose in regulation.

    Final Shots on goal: Chicago Blackhawks 20, Minnesota Wild 44

    Trembley’s Take:

    Goaltending lost this game for the Wild and won it for the Blackhawks, plain and simple. Consider this, No single Minnesota Wild Player had a negative corsi for percentage. Not a single player. On the other side of the puck, Patrick Kane’s corsi for of 44% was a team high.

    Jonathon Blum, among my favorite players in professional hockey, led the Minnesota Wild with an 82% corsi for, but only played around 8 minutes.

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  • Jordan Schroeder was, undeniably, the star of this game for me. Schroeder had a team-high 7 shots on goal and some glorious chances in just under 10 minutes on the ice. He showed something tonight. Schroeder is a natural center and played far, better than Erik Haula, who had no shots but did set up Schroeder a few times. Maybe he stays up and Haula, who’s been sluggish at best, goes down to Iowa. I need to see more before my mind is made up, but expect him to stay for a while.

    Coyle, Vanek,Schroeder, and Zucker all had 5 or more shots on goal.

    The Wild completely outplayed the Blackhawks in every aspect except goaltending and it cost them the game. This is the team we saw playing at the beginning of the season.

    Thanks to losses by the Winnipeg Jets, San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, and Dallas Stars, the Wild is still technically in the playoff hunt. That being said, a win by the Colorado Avalanche moves the Wild to last place in the division and 12th in the conference.

    I sincerely hope to see a trade for a goaltender at some point this week. If the Wild play like they did tonight, a solid goaltender will launch them in to the playoffs. Talk to you Saturday, fans.