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Minnesota Wild @ Chicago Blackhawks: Game Recap

Minnesota Wild 1-3 Chicago Blackhawks

Another road game, another road loss. This is getting painful. Sure, I know we're only 11 games into the season, but this team isn't exactly showing a lot of signs of improvement or consistency in learning the new system. In fact, I'd say they've regressed overall. Sure, they're showing flashes here and there, but overall, they seem to lose focus in their own end, and either don't have the guys to breakout and apply offensive pressure, or they still don't get the new style. Either way, the Todd Richards-led Wild aren't exactly the talk of the town. They're averaging fewer goals per game scored and more goals per game allowed than they did under Lemaire. This isn't exactly a positive step. Hopefully it's only a matter of time before they leap forward, because crawling doesn't seem to be working.

Once again the Wild found themselves down early, as Dave Bolland took a pass from Andrew Ladd and buried it, putting the Blackhawks up 1-0 at the 9:23 mark. Chicago then added to their lead at 17:13 as Troy Brouwer scored on the power play on the rebound from Tomas Kopecky and Duncan Keith. This goal was yet another this season in which Niklas Backstrom had absolutely no help from his defensemen and Brouwer easily poked the rebound home.

One positive from the first period is that the shots were 10-10, but again, the Wild didn't cash-in on their scoring chances, and the Blackhawks had far too many. The defense needs to get tight, especially on the road.

Chicago started to take over the game after that power play goal, while there were no goals in the second period, Chicago clearly carried the play, outshooting the Wild 11-6, then things only got worse in the third. The Wild seemed to pick up play early in the period, culminating in Andrew Brunette's 7th goal of the season, on the rebound from both Antti Miettinen and Mikko Koivu. Bruno has had a great start to the season, one of the lone highlights thus far.

After Bruno's goal however, Chicago again took over and clamped down hard. Just three minutes later, Patrick Kane made a superstar move, driving to the net, spinning in the low circle and roofing one from a ridiculous angle. It was a goal-scorers goal. That put Chicago up 3-1, and the Blackhawks shut the door from then on. Shots in the third period ended up 14-5 and 35-21 overall.

If this is the up-tempo, offensive style we were expecting, I demand a refund. 21 shots is below the season average under Lemaire, and the team just isn't picking it up.

Oh, and by the way:

G A P +/- PIM
2009 - Marian Gaborik 10 8 18 6 4

G A P +/- PIM
2009 - Martin Havlat 1 4 5 -10 0

Please read the game recap over at Second City Hockey

Hockey Wilderness Three Stars
  1. Patrick Kane (1 G)
  2. Andrew Brunette (1 G)
  3. Brian Campbell (+2 in 26:08 TOI)

Questions to Answer

  1. Can the Wild find consistency and bring the Wild Rumpus to Chicago? No.
  2. How will Havlat perform back in Chicago? Less than mediocre. He needs to pick it up. He's killing the team right now.
  3. Can Niklas Backstrom continue the fantastic streak of play? He is doing everything he can to win. He has little support.
  4. Will the time off do Pouliot well? Benoit Pouliot was a -1 in 9:05. The kid needs time to play, this is quickly becoming a lost season, just play him 15 minutes a night and let him free.
  5. With Chicago off to a hot start, can the Wild learn from their level of play? Let's hope so. They need to learn from someone.