CHICAGO – The Chicago Blackhawks have pulled within a single point of the Minnesota Wild with a 4-2 victory on Sunday afternoon at the United Center on the strength of 42 saves by goaltender Corey Crawford. With much of the city of Chicago bundled up in all of their green garments to watch the array of local St. Patrick’s Day parades from the south side to the north side, the Blackhawks played a rare Sunday morning tilt against their division rivals, the Minnesota Wild.
Patrick Kane, who took blame for the teams sloppy loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night, started the scoring for the Blackhawks early in the first period, when Kane scored just 51 seconds into regulation on a nice pass from line-mate Artemi Panarin. The Goal was the 30th of the season for Kane, while Panarin (39) and Johnny Oduya (7) earned the assists on the goal.
Less than five minutes later the Kane and Panarin line was at it again, this time with Kane notching his 43rd assist of the season as Artemi Panarin beat Wild goaltender Devin Dubnyk to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead early in the first period on his 22nd goal.
Halfway through the first period the Wild would get on the board with a goal from Eric Staal, but the Blackhawks were not interested in a close game this afternoon as defenseman Trevor Van Riemsdyk would tap in the Hawks third goal of the contest off of the feed from center Marcus Kruger. The goal was Van Riemsdyk’s 5th of the year, while the assist for Kruger was number 11.
Corey Crawford would stifle the Wild in the second period, going a perfect 20 for 20 in saves against a Minnesota Wild team that out-shot the Blackhawks by a wide margin in today’s game.
The Wild would score once more in the third period when Mikael Granlund scored his 23rd goal of the season just 46 seconds into the final period, cutting the Blackhawks lead to just one at 3-2. Crawford would not allow another Wild goal in the period, and Marian Hossa would put the icing on the cake for the Hawks with his 22nd goal of the season at the 13:42 mark in the third, giving the Blackhawks a 4-2 lead.
Crawford turned in one of his best performances of the season on the afternoon, saving 42 of 44 Minnesota shots on goal, as the Blackhawks sent their sell-out crowd off to their St. Patrick’s Day festivities happy. The Blackhawks moved to 43-20-5 on the season, with the win being their 91st point on the campaign, leaving them one point behind the Wild who now sit at 43-18-6.
The Blackhawks next contest will be on Tuesday evening when they visit former teammate Andrew Shaw and the Montreal Canadiens. Puck drop is set for 6:30 pm (CT) and you can catch the game on CSN Chicago and WGN Radio.