Minnesota Wild Cruise Past Chicago Blackhawks, 3-0


98. 0. 94. Final. 3

By shutting out the Chicago Blackhawks, the Minnesota Wild (24-20-6) won its 4th straight game and jumped out of the Central Division cellar. Devan Dubnyk recorded a 24 save shutout and Mikko Koivu registered a goal and an assist.

Good morning, Minnesota Wild fans. Since the Dubnyk era began in St. Paul 3 weeks ago, I had last night’s game circled as the biggest challenge for the Wild on its early path to season redemption. There are more challenges to come, but the Wild made a statement tonight by out playing the visiting Chicago Blackhawks in nearly every single statistical category. The forecheck was impressive, the forwards were incredible, and the defensmen were sound in front of Dubnyk. The Wild looked confident and played last night’s game with the assertion that we saw carry them through the beginning of the season. Jordan Schroeder, playing in place of Matt Cooke helped bring an injection of speed to the line-up that was much-needed. Check out Dustin’s coverage of that roster move before we get to my notes.

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First Period:

From the opening puck drop, it was clear the Minnesota Wild was in the game to win. Before the opening music completely faded away, Jason Zucker, Koivu, and Marco Scandella all had shot attempts. That being said, the Blackhawks matched the Wild chance for chance, at least briefly.

Johnathan Toews managed a breakaway chance around the 5th minute that had a legitimate chance at making the net, but a slick poke check by Jared Spurgeon’s stick broke up that chance.

Thomas Vanek was all over the ice and set up Zach Parise a couple of times, but goaltender Corey Crawford stopped almost everything until Koivu came along.

The Wild was really good at jumping on loose pucks all night. After a long change, Zucker freed up a puck along the boards and Spurgeon made a quick move to keep the puck in the offensive zone and set-up Jason Pominville for a quick shot. Pominville’s shot didn’t make it all the way through to Crawford. Zucker and Koivu started shoveling away at the loose puck in the crease until Koivu roofed a quick backhander over Crawford’s right shoulder to make it 1-0 Wild at 07:40 of the first period.  No assists on the play, but Zucker definitely deserved one.

The Blackhawks took significant advantage of Nate Prosser and Mathew Dumba in the opening frame. Both made adjustments later in the game; however, Scandella and Spurgeon needed no adjustments. paired up against the Blackhawks’ top line, the middle-pair defenseman were perfect in their all around game. In fact, Scandella set up Zucker’s beautiful first period goal.

Scandella and Koivu played keep-away from the Blackhawks for a few seconds so the forwards could change. Just as Zucker jumped on the ice, Scandella completed a beautiful 80-ish foot stretch pass to spring Zucker loose in the offensive zone. From there, the California kid deked out Crawford, swung to the Chicago net minder’s left and backhanded a shot in true Zucker fashion to make it 2-0 Wild at 10:00 of the first period. Take a look at the video below for more, and at the 30 second mark of the video, you can see me! That’s pretty neat. I’m the bald guy in the black sweatshirt.

Near the end of the first, Dumba got absolutely steamrolled by Bryan Bickell. I must say, the home crowd really hates Bickell.

Shots after one period: Chicago Blackhawks 9, Minnesota Wild 11

Second period:

Bickell put two shots on goal in the first two minutes before the entire Blackhawks organization decided to give Dubnyk a vacation.

Marian Hossa gave the Wild its first chance at a power play and moved to some kind of miraculous shoot-first mentality, putting 6 shots on goal.  Johnny Oduya gave Pominville a mighty slash and the Wild earned 51 seconds of 5-on-3, where they put zero shots on goal.

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  • After the power play, the Wild put on quite a show for the hometown crowd. Parise, Vanek, and Mikael Granlund spent nearly two minutes in the offensive zone, never allowing Crawford to collect a rebound. When the shift finally ended with a puck hitting the netting, the crowd went insane.

    Mikko Koivu tripped Patrick Kane to give the Blackhawks their first power play. The Hawks failed to register a single shot on goal and Zucker had a shorthanded breakaway try that didn’t get past Crawford.

    30 seconds after the Koivu penalty expired, Granlund scored.

    Kyle Brodziak

    and Parise split up along the side walls and put on an aggressive forecheck as Granlund made his way to the high slot. Parise set up Granlund for a one-timer that hit the goal post and bounced in.

    3-0 Wild at 14:12 of the second period.

    Granlund has performed at a new level since returning from injury, putting up 3 points in his last two games (1g-2a=3)

    A bit of time at 4-on-4 didn’t really do anything for either team. The Minnesota Wild registered 24 shots in the second period, setting a franchise record for shots on goal through one period.

    Shots through two periods: Chicago Blackhawks 14, Minnesota Wild 35

    Third Period:

    Not much to say about the 3rd period, folks. Dubnyk made some incredible saves and you could see the Blackhawks’ frustration wash in to apathy.

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  • Scandella fired a couple huge slap shots for good measure and to tie a franchise record for shots on goal by a defenseman with 8 in the game. Game over, Wild win 3-0 for 4th straight win.

    Final shots on goal: Chicago Blackhawks 24, Minnesota Wild 43

    Trembley’s Take:

    What a great game for the Wild. This game showed everything the Wild was at the beginning of the season that gave us so much hope.

    Only 5 Wild skaters, constituting the bottom pairing defensively and the 4th line, had a sub 50% corsi for at even strength. Every other skater was in the positive. That’s insanely good. Pominville had a 80% corsi for, leading all skaters.

    Jordan Schroeder mixed in super well with Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle. I love the idea of a speedy forward joining the two big-bodied youngsters. Schroeder had 4 shots on goal and was sniffing like crazy for his first point in a Wild sweater.

    Guys, it’s too early to talk about re-signing Dubnyk, but I’m really impressed so far. in 8 games, he has 7 quality starts, going 6-1-0 with a 1.48 GAA and 0.945 save percentage. The biggest thing about Dubnyk’s play is the confidence it instills in the team in front of him. That’s where Dubnyk’s money is going to come from. He’s also the fastest goalie in Minnesota Wild history to record 3 shutouts. Ilya Bryzgalov held the previous record at 10 games. By the Way, last night marked Dubnyk’s 200th career game in the NHL. Congrats, Doob.

    Wild is off until Saturday, when they take on the Colorado Avalanche.