A busy Wednesday for Blackhawks ends with loss to Wild
by Scott King
Patrick Kane was named to the 2018 NHL All-Star tournament, Brent Seabrook would be back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch Tuesday, and Richard Panik got traded to the Arizona Coyotes for Anthony Duclair.
About an hour and half after the last bit of news on a busy Wednesday for the Blackhawks, the team took on the Minnesota Wild, who they were tied with for 5th in the Central division, 7th in the Western Conference and 14th overall in the league.
It was the second of back-to-back contests for the Hawks. Chicago beat the Senators 8-2 in Ottawa on Tuesday night. Patrick Kane had a career-high five points in the tilt.
“They put on a show there in Ottawa,” Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk said following Wednesday’s game. “You knew their confidence was going to be high and they showed that at the start of the game.”
Due to the Panik trade, the Hawks chose not to play winger Tomas Jurco and rolled with 11 forwards and 12 defensemen, which upped Patrick Kane’s ice time to an unusual 26:52.
“I think sometimes when you’re out there you probably have to pick your spots a little bit,” Kane said of his high ice time. “On which plays you’re going… It’s not necessarily the best way to play, but if he keeps calling me or asking if I’m okay to go out there, then you’re obviously going to take advantage of that and go out there and play as much as possible.
“Love to play, love to be out there. Would have been nice to create some more tonight. I thought they did a good job defensively.”
Oddly enough, Brent Seabrook tapped in the Blackhawks’ first goal of the game Wednesday night at 12:24 in the first period just one night after being a healthy scratch for the first time in his career.
“It was good to get out of the first 1-0 and we got some big plays from a couple guys,” Dubnyk said.
Jonas Brodin tied the game 1-1 near the halfway mark of the second period with a shot from the point that deflected off Blackhawks forward Tommy Wingels’ stick.
Ryan Suter scored early in the third period during four-on-four play to make it 2-1 Wild after Patrick Kane took a tripping penalty while the Hawks were on a power play.
The Hawks wouldn’t be able to answer back and would fall in regulation to the Wild 2-1. After the loss, the Hawks sat two points behind the Wild and two spots shy of the second Wild Card spot.
“Every point is still huge,” Hawks forward Nick Schmlatz said. “Even though there’s 40 games left in the season, it’s so crucial. These points are going to add up in the end. We just [have] to move on and focus on Friday and hopefully come out with a big two points.”
Schmaltz played in his 100th career NHL game on Wednesday. “He’s playing great,” Kane said of his linemate.
“He’s a threat every time he has the puck. His speed is next level. His speed through the middle of the ice is something that we’ve really been trying to utilize. He’s been playing great for us.”
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