Hockey can be a cruel sport sometimes. Last night, the Chicago Blackhawks scored four power play goals in an 8-2 blowout of the Ottawa Senators. Tonight, they went 0-for-3 in a 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild.
When Coach Q has scratched players this season it has seemed to have a positive effect on them. Ryan Hartman and Patrick Sharp all responded well after they sat out and so did Brent Seabrook as he opened the scoring at 12:24 of the first period. Devan Dubnyk stopped a shot from the point by Michal Kempny, but Seabrook crashed the net and tipped home the rebound. Nick Schmaltz had the other assist on Seabrook’s second goal of the season and first since opening night.
However, Bruce Boudreau decided to challenge the zone entry about 43 seconds before the goal was scored. After a lengthy review, the play was ruled onside and the goal remained on the scoreboard. The Wild were assessed a delay of game penalty for losing the challenge, but the Blackhawks could not cash in on the power play.
The Blackhawks dominated the play for much of the first period, but only had a one goal lead at the break. The fears of not scoring more than just the Seabrook goal coming back to haunt the team were realized about halfway through the second period. The Wild tied the game at the 9:58 as Jonas Brodin’s shot from above the left circle hit off the stick of Tommy Wingels and fluttered over the shoulder of Anton Forsberg.
A few moments after Patrick Kane cancelled out a Blackhawks power play by tripping Charlie Coyle in the offensive zone, the Wild took their first lead of the night at 3:03 of the third period. With the teams playing 4v4, Forsberg got caught going down a bit early and Ryan Suter fired a wrist shot from the right circle over his glove hand.
This is a game the Blackhawks are going to wish they had won come March. It is also a game that dressing 11 forwards and seven defensemen is just a dumb decision. Having to ask guys to double shift on the second night of back-to-back games with a red hot Tomas Jurco chomping at the bit to get is a flat out bad move by Joel Quenneville. Jurco’s speed and fresh legs could have come in handy during the third period, but “3 Cups” or something like that.
The Blackhawks will be back in action Friday night when they host the Winnipeg Jets with the newly acquired Antony Duclair likely to make his debut with the team.