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Blackhawks rookies keep rolling along in win over Wild

Blackhawks center Dave Bollscores an empty-net goal finish scoring 5-2 victory over Wild Thursday. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Blackhawks center Dave Bolland scores an empty-net goal to finish the scoring in a 5-2 victory over the Wild on Thursday. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: March 1, 2012 6:27PM



Blackhawks rookies Andrew Shaw and Jimmy Hayes continue to make a compelling case for staying with the big club.

Both scored, and Dave Bolland had two goals and an assist in a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday at the United Center.

“You obviously want to stick here, so you just keep working and hopefully good things happen,” Shaw said. “I want to be here as long as possible. I’m just playing it game by game and enjoying every minute of it. You can’t look too far ahead because you never know where you’ll be.”

The Hawks won their second consecutive game after a four-game losing streak. They moved back into first place in the Central Division, one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues, and up to second in the Western Conference.

Shaw tallied his second goal in five games to pull the Hawks even at 1 midway through the first period. Hayes then gave the Hawks a 2-1 lead on the power play with his third goal in seven games. Bolland fed him with a nice pass from behind the net 8:53 into the second.

Viktor Stalberg set a career high with 13 goals in a season 23 seconds later. Bolland also scored on the power play and added an empty-netter.

“It’s just something we’ve got to keep doing,” Hayes said of his and Shaw’s contributions. “I’m not sure we’re the solution. We’ve just got to bring energy and keep playing hard.”

With Marcus Kruger (concussion) expected back either against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday or the San Jose Sharks on Sunday, Joel Quenneville said after the game that the rookies had given him something to think about.

“We have number problems,” Quenneville said. “We’ll have to look at some options here. We’re right at the number.”

The rookies’ contributions have given the Hawks’ offense a lift at a time when the team needs extra production with Patrick Sharp expected to miss at least the next three weeks.

“They’re young kids coming up, they want a job, so I think it’s great by them,” said Bolland, who has seven points in his last five games. “When a guy [like Sharp] goes down, you know there’s extra roles that come upon you, and we have guys that have taken over those roles and are doing it right now.”

The Hawks’ power play showed signs of getting back on track. The team converted on 2 of 3 chances, marking the first time in 12 games it had multiple goals.

Ray Emery stopped 21 of 23 shots to improve to 10-3-2, and Michael Frolik and Steve Montador each had two assists.

“It’s nice when you get contributions across the board,” Quenneville said. “We talked about all year long that we need more consistency in our team game, whether there’s production or not. We had good rotation in our lines in back-to-back games here.”

Devin Setoguchi and Kyle Brodziak scored for Minnesota, which fell to 1-9-3 in its last 13 games. The Hawks are 8-1-1 against the Wild since the start of the 2009-10 season.



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