The Blackhawks beat the Wild 5 to 3 at the United Center. Goals came from all the cool kids, Seabrook, Kane, Toews, Hossa and they even let their little tag-along buddy, Ben Smith, get in on the fun with an empty-netter at the end of the game. Duncan Keith missed the game due to “illness” which of course everyone believes to be Mumps. I’m pretty shocked we haven’t seen one of those memes comparing toughness, since it appears Mumps are the only thing tougher than an NHL player.
- Herd Immunity: Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo and some random dude on Twitter believe the referees handed the Blackhawks the win. When an entire season goes by that features a team never drawing a penalty that was a bit questionable, I’ll start giving this argument a lot more credence. At this point, every team gets a call here and there that maybe it doesn’t really deserve. I don’t think the rule book allows teams to decline penalties for moral or sportsmanship related reasons, so they take what they are given and try to make the most of it. This is the way of the hockey world. The Wild have had a tough time doing that this season as their Power Play continues to flounder.
- Vaccination: Patrick Kane is the cure for all that ails you. He skated freely into the offensive zone on several occasions against a team noted to have a penchant for the neutral zone trap. The Wild didn’t trap very effectively during this game as Kane, Saad and others seemed to walk right in. Kane moved through the penalty killers while the Blackhawks were on the Power Play with ridiculous ease. He even tried the old “bank it off the back of the goalie’s head” move while behind the net at one point in the game. Vaccines are good for you and frankly I don’t think it is a coincidence that Patrick Kane is too.
- Pathogens: The first period was not very good for the Blackhawks. The Wild controlled quite a bit of the play and there was a lot of end to end action. This is one of the areas where Duncan Keith was missed. The mixed up defensive pairings had a tough time suppressing shots starting at the offensive blue line and working their way back.
- Booster: Quenneville sent the Blackhawks out in the second period with some changed up lines and defensive pairings. Seabrook and Oduya, Hjalmarsson and Rozsival, and finally Erixon and Rundblad seemed to work out much better for the team. The forwards were mixed up but all of them seemed to do a better job defensively starting in the second period. Kris Versteeg made several nice plays in the defensive and neutral zones that stifled the Wild’s attempts to create some offense. That’s something that was really missing from Versteeg’s game last season so it’s nice to see him improving so much.
- Event Summary