Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Positives from a Rebound Victory over Minnesota Wild
The 'Hawks went to Minnesota with a renewed sense of purpose, coming out a 5-1 winner to avenge Saturday's 5-3 loss to this same Wild squad. Chicago was able to put together a solid evening of hockey to pick up its seventh win of the 2013-14 season.
After some frustrating play led to two straight losses, there was a lot to like about the Chicago effort Monday. Here are five positives to take as the 'Hawks try and make it two in a row against visiting Ottawa Tuesday night.
1. The D Getting Involved
Save for Niklas Hjalmarsson, who was a plus-one on the night, every Chicago defenseman got in on the scoring Monday.
Coming up big with goals was the third pairing of Nick Leddy and Sheldon Brookbank. Brookbank's tally proved to be the eventual game-winner. Leddy's power-play goal just over three minutes later put Chicago up 3-1, a lead from which the 'Hawks would never look back.
Duncan Keith contributed a nice pass to spring Brandon Saad in the third period, but Saad's play deserves its own slide. So...
2. Brandon Saad's Stickwork in the 3rd Period
Saad was the game's first star and deservedly so. He came up with a pair of exclamation points on the win with two electric plays in the final 20 minutes.
First came a backhanded spin move that slid the puck to a wide open Patrick Kane in the third minute. As an encore, Saad took Keith's feed to the net and beat Niklas Backstrom with a forehand-backhand move that gently slid through the five-hole.
3. Brandon Pirri on the 2nd Line
Coach Joel Quenneville gave Pirri a shot on the second line with Saad and Patrick Kane. The 22-year-old rookie did a nice job with the assignment.
In 12:56 of ice time, Pirri collected two assists on the evening. He drew a bit of praise from his coach and there's the possibility of him playing another game with his new linemates Tuesday against the Senators. With Michal Handzus out for the time being, this looks to be a big chance for Pirri to win a larger role on this team.
4. Patrick Sharp Denting the Twine
Sharp had a single goal on 45 shot attempts coming into Monday night. It was a good sign to see the veteran sniper put one by Niklas Backstrom late in the opening period.
Taking a pass from Marian Hossa, Sharp threaded the needle on a tough-angle shot that went in for the first score of the contest. It wouldn't be a bad thing to have Sharp heating up as the 'Hawks hit November.
5. Corey Crawford Bouncing Back
After giving up five goals two nights ago, Crawford turned in a big performance in Minnesota. On a night where Chicago was outshot 30-28, Crawford stopped 29 of those shots on goal.
Crawford lowered his goals-against average to 2.24 with his sixth win of the season. Expect him to get the net Tuesday as Crawford and the Blackhawks look to make it two in a row.