Kane, Crawford lead Blackhawks past Wild for 5th straight
By MATT CARLSON
Dec. 18, 2017
CHICAGO (AP) — Patrick Kane is finally on a roll, and so are the Chicago Blackhawks.
Kane scored two slick goals, Corey Crawford made 27 saves and the Blackhawks beat the Minnesota Wild 4-1 Sunday night for their season-high fifth straight win.
Kane, who has seven points in his last four games, connected on a one-timer and a breakaway to give him 14 goals this season and four in the last three games. The flashy Chicago forward's 298th and 299th career goals moved him into fifth place in team history, ahead of Dennis Hull.
"That's obviously my job, so that's what I have to do," Kane said, "but more than that, you want to improve on your game, on your craft, every day."
That craft is creating offense, and the 29-year-old Chicago star seems like he's back in form.
"I know his game's been getting better lately," coach Joel Quenneville said. "He's getting hot. He's getting the puck a lot. ... With his game with the puck, he's just so hard to defend."
Ryan Hartman also scored for Chicago, snapping a 17-game drought dating to Oct. 28. Tommy Wingels added a short-handed empty-netter as the Blackhawks followed up on a 5-1 win at Winnipeg on Thursday with another strong effort against a Central Division rival.
"I think everyone in here knows we can do it," Crawford said. "We've got a dangerous offense and our D are playing great. It's been fun hockey."
Matt Dumba scored at 5:56 of the third, spoiling Crawford's shutout bid on a screened shot from the right point. The Wild dropped their second straight after a four-game winning streak.
Alex Stalock made 42 saves his third straight start in place of Minnesota No. 1 goalie Devan Dubnyk, who is sidelined with a lower-body injury. He helped keep the Wild, who snuffed all six Chicago power-plays, close in this one.
"There's a big difference between two goals and three goals," Stalock said. "One more big save it's a whole different game."
Dumba, a defenseman, has scored Minnesota's last three goals to increase his total to six. He scored twice in the Wild's 3-2 loss at home to Edmonton on Saturday.
The Wild have scored just seven goals in their last four games.
"The guys are getting great chances and not getting results," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I think they're getting frustrated."
The Wild outshot the Blackhawks 13-9 in the first and had the better chances, but Kane connected at 10:56 for the only goal of the period. Completing a rush and give-and-go with Nick Schmaltz, Kane ripped in a one-timer from the right circle as Stalock slid across the crease.
Crawford came up with several sharp saves to preserve the lead, including a close-in stop on Charlie Coyle with 10 seconds left in the first.
The Blackhawks dominated in the second, outshooting Minnesota 22-6. After Stalock stopped several prime chances, Chicago took 2-0 lead on Kane's second goal, capping a breakaway with 4:24 left.
Hartman made it 3-0 at 1:41 of third as he picked up the puck along the left boards, plowed to the net and beat Stalock with a high shot on the stick side.
Dumba cut it to 3-1 just over 4 minutes later when his drive from the blue line sailed through traffic and over Crawford's right shoulder.
Wingels backhanded in an long empty-netter to complete the scoring with 4 minutes left — and Stalock pulled for an extra attacker during a Minnesota power play.
NOTES: Minnesota D Jared Spurgeon returned after missing nine games with a groin injury. ... Blackhawks D Jan Rutta missed his second game and D Cody Franson missed his fourth, both with upper-body injuries. ... Slumping Chicago LW Richard Panik was a healthy scratch for the third straight game. ... Struggling Minnesota LW Marcus Foligno was scratched for the second time in three games. ... Wild C Mikko Koivu played Sunday, but now has gone 24 games without a goal and 11 without a point.
Wild: At Ottawa on Tuesday night in the second game of four-game trip.
Blackhawks: At Dallas on Thursday night to open a stretch of six straight road games.