10 observations: Blackhawks' offense goes dry in shutout loss to Wild

10 observations: Blackhawks' offense goes dry in shutout loss to Wild originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

The Chicago Blackhawks were shut out for the 13th time this season after falling to the Minnesota Wild 4-0 on Sunday at the United Center.

Here are 10 observations from the loss:

1. This was not the most entertaining game by any stretch. The Blackhawks barely generated chances through two periods, recording only 15 shots on goal. They turned it on a bit in the third period but it was because the Wild sat back to protect their 3-0 lead that eventually became 4-0.

2. Connor Bedard and Brock Faber squared off for the final time this season. Neither of them did anything noteworthy in this game until Faber recorded a pretty primary assist on Minnesota's fourth goal.

The Calder Trophy discussion has been interesting. I admire both fanbases trying to make cases for their respective rookies. I think Bedard is going to win, but that doesn't diminish how great of a season Faber has had.

3. For the second time this season, the Blackhawks went all game without getting a single power play. That's part of the reason they had a hard time scoring.

4. Arvid Söderblom made his first start in eight days. I didn't think he was bad. The Wild peppered him all game, and Kirill Kaprizov scored two of the goals. Söderblom probably has one more start left — maybe two — before he can finally turn the page on this season.

5. Nikita Zaitsev returned to the lineup for the first time in more than a week. He was in for Jarred Tinordi, who was a healthy scratch. On Minnesota's third goal, Zaitsev didn't make much of an effort in front of the net to box out Frederick Gaudreau, who scored off a redirection. It took a bit for Zaitsev to realize he needed to get over and tie up Gaudreau's stick.

6. Nick Foligno went to the locker room after his first shift in the second period, and I didn't see what happened. Nothing looked out of the ordinary when I rewatched his shift. He returned later in the period so I assumed it was an equipment issue but I noticed him testing something out during stoppages. So perhaps just a minor bump.

7. The Blackhawks were credited with 13 hits; Seth Jones had five of them. The Wild had only seven hits. This was far from a physical affair.

8. The Blackhawks had an excellent day at the faceoff circle, which isn't something we've seen too often this season. Athanasiou, most notably, won his first eight draws before finally losing one.

9. Wild top goaltending prospect Jesper Wallstedt was recalled on Saturday and made his second career NHL start. He wasn't tested very much in the shutout win but it's easy to see why he was drafted with the No. 20 overall pick in 2021. I think he's going to be a future NHL All-Star.

10. If this is the end for Marc-Andre Fleury, what an unbelievable career. Slam-dunk first-ballot Hall of Famer, which is crazy to think about when you factor in that he was drafted first overall in 2003. In today's NHL, you rarely see a goaltender even get drafted in the first round. He wasn't in Chicago very long but he immediately became a fan favorite.

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