Wild steal one back late as Blackhawks lose, 4-3
BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter December 5, 2013 9:32PM
Updated: December 5, 2013 10:31PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. — When Marian Hossa unleashed a flat-out filthy rising wrist shot from the left dot that beat Minnesota goaltender Josh Harding over the left shoulder — less than six minutes after Brandon Saad did almost the exact same thing from the right dot — Joel Quenneville believed his Blackhawks had the Wild right where they wanted them.
The lead, the momentum and the clock were all on the Hawks’ side.
“Right where we wanted to be,” Quenneville said. “Six minutes left with a one-goal lead, that’s generally our bread and butter.”
Not on this night.
The Hawks turned a sluggish start into a stirring rally, then into a frustrating 4-3 defeat on Thursday night. It’s the first time all season the Hawks have lost two straight games in regulation, and this one looked an awful lot like the last one.
In Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to Dallas, the Hawks rallied from a 3-0 deficit with three goals in less than eight minutes, before a third-period penalty led to the go-ahead goal on a penalty shot, and a squandered two-man power play doomed them to defeat.
In Thursday’s 4-3 loss to Minnesota, the Hawks rallied from a 2-0 deficit with three goals in seven minutes of game time, before an ill-timed Brent Seabrook penalty led to a Jonas Brodin power-play goal with 5:39 left. Marco Scandella then scored the game-winner with a wrist shot from the point with 1:48 to go in the game.
“Seems like right now, when we make mistakes at the end, it’s costing us,” Hossa said. “Just feel like we made a little more mistakes than they did, and we lost the game.”
Quenneville was mostly unhappy about the penalty kill, which had shown signs of life lately but is still the second-worst in the league. Minnesota scored twice on three power plays.
“It’s a game we had right where we wanted it, and we needed a kill, and we didn’t get it done,” Quenneville said.
A big part of penalty killing is goaltending, and Quenneville didn’t spare Corey Crawford (19 saves), even though Zach Parise’s second-period power-play goal came off a fluky deflection off Dany Heatley, and Brodin’s actually went in off Hawks defenseman Johnny Oduya.
“He’s got to be better,” Quenneville said of Crawford, who’s given up eight goals on just 41 shots in the last two games.
It was a whirlwind third period after a sleepy first two. Matt Cooke and Parise staked the Wild to a 2-0 lead. But Jeremy Morin scored his first goal of the season — chipping in a backhander after Joakim Nordstrom deflected Patrick Kane’s shot in the slot — with just 16.6 seconds left in the second, and the momentum carried over into the third.
Saad and Hossa scored their jaw-dropping mirror-image goals from each faceoff dot in the first 6:35 of the third period, and suddenly the Hawks had a 3-2 lead, and appeared poised for their seventh straight road win, and their fourth in the last six that involved a third-period comeback.
Instead, the Hawks gave up two more points to division teams in a most aggravating fashion — just like they did on Tuesday back home. Hossa said the Hawks weren’t frustrated, only that they have to learn from these little mistakes that keep ending up in the back of their net.
But with another Western contender, Anaheim, coming to the United Center on Friday, there’s little time for that.
“Penalty trouble cost us again, we couldn’t find a way to kill those two penalties off again, and, again, we’ve got to get in lanes when they shoot the puck from the point in the third period,” Jonathan Toews said. “It’s just little things like that. … Look at the last couple of games, there are some mistakes that were made that we have to tend to, obviously.”