Corey Crawford stops 42 shots as Blackhawks top Wild

Corey Crawford stops 42 shots as Blackhawks top Wild

Corey Crawford has had his good and not-so-good outings the last couple of weeks. On Sunday, he was at his best.

Crawford stopped a season high 42 shots and Trevor van Riemsdyk's second-period goal proved to be the game winner as the Blackhawks beat the Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Sunday afternoon. The Blackhawks snapped a two-game losing streak and are now one point behind the Wild, whom they've beaten in the last three games, in the Western Conference.

Patrick Kane had a goal (his 30th of the season) and an assist), as did Artemi Panarin.

If you didn't see Sunday's game the score would be a bit misleading. The Blackhawks did a lot with a little, getting those four goals on 22 shots. Credit their offense for an incredibly fast start. Kane scored just 51 seconds into the game and Panarin's 22nd goal of the season a few minutes later gave the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead at 4:38. More surprising is Wild coach Bruce Boudreau pulled Devan Dubnyk after that second goal (the Blackhawks had just two shots at that point). Boudreau told the media following the game that he didn't think Dubnyk was following the puck well.

Boudreau may not have meant to spark the Wild but it looked like he did. From that point on the Wild were relentless, firing 44 shots, many of good quality, on Crawford. Sharp from the start, Crawford kept the Blackhawks from losing their lead.

"I think that was a big game for us," Crawford said. "After two losses, coming back against one of the best teams in the league, some big points for us there."

Coach Joel Quenneville said Crawford was, "terrific."

"Fortunate start there, couple of quick goals. We slowed down as the game progressed there and Crow made some great saves, big saves," Quenneville said. "The second period, we were fortunate to come ahead there."

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Indeed, the Wild had 20 of their 44 shots in that second period and came up with nothing thanks to Crawford. Meanwhile a Wild gaffe gave the Blackhawks, up 2-1 to start the second, a 3-1 lead by the end of it. Ryan White was going to be called for a tripping penalty on Jordin Tootoo. White stopped playing but the whistle hadn't blown, Marcus Kruger grabbed the puck and passed to van Riemsdyk, who gave the Blackhawks a 3-1 lead.

"I was the beneficiary of two great plays, Toots taking the guy with him and Krugs coming up and laying it to me on the back door," said van Riemsdyk, who also scored against Detroit on Friday. "It would've been pretty hard to miss that so I just wanted to guide it in. Didn't want to mess it up."

Marian Hossa scored his 22nd of the season, a breakaway spurred by a Duncan Keith pass, late in the third period.

The Blackhawks overall did not play their best game of the season. They took advantage of a good goaltender having a tough start. They took advantage of a mistake in the second period. And they rode Crawford, who saved his best of the season for one of the biggest games of the season.

"Huge game by Crow tonight, but I think overall we want to be better as a team and I think we have 14 games left to make sure that happens and feel good about ourselves going into the playoffs," Kane said. "We'll see what happens now. I know they've got a game in hand on us, but we're right there. So, we'll see."

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Red Wings: Lacking jump

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Red Wings: Lacking jump

DETROIT – Getting the early lead was one thing. Following it up was another, and the Blackhawks couldn’t do that against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.

Playing without Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson didn’t help – coach Joel Quenneville didn’t want to tax the two players, both coming back from injuries, with three games in four days. But the Blackhawks’ overall game just wasn’t there.

Anyway, it’s a pretty quick turnaround. So let’s get to the notables.

What Worked: The Red Wings’ response after Justin Abdelkader’s hit. Oh, the Blackhawks’ immediate response was fine. Abdelkader hit Brian Campbell high and late, and Trevor van Riemsdyk went after Abdelkader. But it was the Red Wings who capitalized following that fracas, scoring twice in the final 3:35 of the first period, turning the Blackhawks’ early 1-0 lead into a 2-1 deficit.

What Didn’t Work: The Blackhawks’ overall game. It’s been a while since we’ve said this but the Blackhawks were flat. As Patrick Kane said, it was surprising that the Blackhawks’ last game at Joe Louis Arena didn’t draw the expected enthusiasm level. Hey, this rivalry isn’t what it used to be thanks to realignment, and perhaps coming off the back to back – or even looking ahead to Sunday – factored into Friday’s bad game.

Star of the game: Tomas Tatar. Net-front presence is big, and Tatar was supplying it all night. When he wasn’t providing a screen on Andreas Athanasiou’s late-first period goal, Tatar was assisting or scoring his own. He finished with two goals and an assist, to give Detroit their last victory over the Blackhawks at Joe Louis Arena.

He Said It: “Yeah, nice to see Riems jump in there. I didn’t see the hit but it must’ve been pretty bad for Riemer to jump in. Good to see him stick up for his teammate.” — Corey Crawford on van Riemsdyk’s reaction to the hit on Campbell

By the Numbers:

4 – Goals allowed by the Blackhawks on Friday, the most they’ve allowed since Jan. 26 (vs. Winnipeg).

900 – Career regular-season games for Duncan Keith.

400 – Career regular-season games for Andrew Desjardins, who was back in the lineup on Friday.

1,127 – Career points for Marian Hossa following his assist on van Riemsdyk’s second-period goal. Hossa is now 55th all-time in NHL history in points.

Blackhawks suffer second straight loss in final game at Joe Louis Arena

Blackhawks suffer second straight loss in final game at Joe Louis Arena

DETROIT – Over the last month the Blackhawks have been a different team, with a strong four-line rotation, a lot of high-scoring games and plenty of energy.

Friday's game featured none of that.

Tomas Tatar scored twice, including the game-winning goal, as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Blackhawks 4-2 in the final meeting between the two at Joe Louis Arena. The Blackhawks, who were without Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya for this one – they were given a rest night – have lost two in a row for the first time since late January. They'll enter Sunday's game against the Minnesota Wild trailing by three points; the Wild beat the Florida Panthers on Friday night.

The Blackhawks have been stellar since the start of February but they looked listless on Friday night. After so many years of great games between the two rivals, Friday's Wings-Blackhawks game was decidedly mediocre.

"Last game at the Joe, you'd think you'd have a lot of jump and energy," Patrick Kane said. "Frustrating. We had the start we wanted, then give up two goals there late in the first. Not the way you want to finish that period."

Kane also talked of his own tough outing.

"It probably falls on me tonight, lot of bad turnovers and plays and missed coverage in our end," he said. "Being on for four goals against isn't good enough. Gotta be better than that."

The Blackhawks' biggest burst came early, when Artemi Panarin's 21st goal of the season gave them a 1-0 lead. But for the most part after that, the Blackhawks got quiet. Justin Abdelkader hit Brian Campbell near the boards, which drew the anger of Trevor van Riemsdyk.

"It was a pretty hard hit and we didn't like it too much. That's how it goes after something like that," van Riemsdyk said. "I ended up sitting in the box longer than you'd like to, but I just saw the hit and that was my reaction."

Coach Joel Quenneville had no problem with van Riemsdyk's reaction.

"Sometimes you go in there, doesn't necessarily means it's a fight, but it ended up being one," he said.

But the Red Wings reacted better after all of that, scoring twice within the final 3:35 of the first period (Xavier Ouellet and Andreas Athanasiou).

"It seemed like we were in a good spot and, boom, they scored two quick ones and now we're chasing," Corey Crawford said. "Tough spot to be in, second half of a back-to-back and playing catch-up hockey."

The Blackhawks couldn't catch up. Now they'll face the Wild, which should definitely get their attention. The Blackhawks have played great hockey over the last month or so. Friday's game just wasn't one of those outings.