Wild 5, Blackhawks 3

Jerry Bonkowski, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- When the Minnesota Wild were eliminated from the NHL playoffs last season by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, they vowed to get revenge.
The Wild lived up to their word on Saturday night as forward Jason Pominville scored two goals to lead the Wild to a 5-3 win over the Blackhawks.
It was arguably the worst performance of the season for the Blackhawks (6-2-3), who lost their second straight and the Wild (6-3-3) won their third game in a row.
The Wild extended their lead in the overall series with Chicago to 28-18-2 and also improved to 13-10-1 over the Hawks in the United Center.
Minnesota forward Zach Parise's wrist shot (sixth goal of the season) on the power play put the Wild on the scoreboard first at 12:39 of the first period.
Minnesota made it 2-0 just over a minute into the second period on Kyle Brodziak's second goal of the season.
The Blackhawks played lackluster at times up to that point but still seemed to have an offensive edge on their opponents.
However, the Wild seemed to do more with the fewer opportunities they had, and had an aggressive defense that the Blackhawks had difficulty penetrating.
A good example of that came about six minutes into the second period. Chicago had a two-man advantage because of two Wild penalties, yet still came up empty-handed.
Chicago appeared to find its game at 11:03 of the second period when Minnesota's Clayton Stoner swatted at a loose puck with his hand and it trickled past Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom for an apparent goal.
However, officials reviewed the play for several minutes before referee Chris Rooney ruled Chicago center Andrew Shaw was guilty of high sticking before the puck came Stoner's way, thus negating the tally.
Less than four minutes later, Chicago broke the shutout on Bryan Bickell's fourth goal in as many games (and fourth of the season) to cut the Wild's advantage to 2-1.
But Minnesota showed it wanted this game more as Pominville scored his fifth goal of the season at 17:42 to put the Wild ahead 3-1 going into the final period.
Pominville scored his second of the game at 9:18 of the third period to put the game away for the Wild.
About 3 1/2 minutes later, Patrick Kane scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season for Chicago on the power play, but it was too little too late. Of note on that goal, Kane is now one from 50 power-play goals in his career.
Even with a two-goal margin, Minnesota kept chipping away at Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford as Justin Fontaine scored his third goal of the season with just under 4 1/2 minutes left in the game to make it 5-2.
Chicago's third and final goal came with 30 seconds left on Marcus Kruger's first score of the season. The Hawks outshot the Wild 36-25 in the game, but it was all for naught.
NOTES: Attendance was 21,521. ... The Blackhawks lost just two man-games to injury thus far this season coming into Saturday's game. Minnesota has been hit hard by injuries, now at 34 lost man-games after Saturday's game. ... Saturday marked the Blackhawks' debuts of C Brad Mills and LW Jeremy Morin, who were called up Friday from Rockford of the AHL. Mills appeared in 31 career NHL games, all with New Jersey. Morin is in his fourth stint with the Blackhawks, having appeared previously in a total of 15 games across parts of three seasons. ... The Wild and Blackhawks meet again Monday in Minnesota. ... With Wild starting G Josh Harding still day to day with a lower body strain (sat out Saturday's game), fellow G Johan Gustafsson joined the team Saturday after being recalled from their Iowa AHL farm team.

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