Scandella scores late as Wild edge 'Hawks
By Jess Myers, The Sports Xchange
Minnesota 4 Chicago 3
SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- For the second game in a row, the Chicago Blackhawks had an opponent right where they wanted them only to see a win slip away.
Defenseman Marco Scandella scored his first goal of the season with less than two minutes remaining in regulation, lifting the Minnesota Wild to a 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Blackhawks on Thursday.
The Wild (17-8-5) also got goals from left wingers Matt Cooke and Zach Parise and defenseman Jonas Brodin to beat Chicago at home for the first time this season
Chicago (20-6-4) trailed 2-0 late in the second, but rallied for a 3-2 lead on goals by left wingers Jeremy Morin and Brandon Saad, and a power-play goal by right winger Marian Hossa. But like two nights earlier when they dominated the Dallas Stars and lost 4-3, the Blackhawks received little for their efforts.
"We had the momentum but it was one of those games where the momentum turned quickly in their favor," said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. "We're still tied, let's get it to overtime and see what happens, but they got the break and we got nothing."
Scandella's shot from the blue line made its way through a crowd in front of the net, giving Minnesota an improbable win. Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford finished with 19 saves.
"It feels great," said Scandella, who hadn't scored since Feb. 1 of last season. "It just shows that we were relentless tonight. We beat a really good Chicago team and we never gave up."
Cooke got his second goal in the past three games less than five minutes into the game, taking a pass from center Torrey Mitchell and snapping off a shot that fooled Crawford.
A short time later Chicago had a golden opportunity to tie the game, but was thwarted by Wild goalie Josh Harding. A long lead pass from right winger Kris Versteeg sprung left winger Patrick Sharp on a breakaway from center ice. Sharp made a deke move to the forehand and shot, but Harding's left pad stopped the puck on the goal line to preserve the Wild lead.
With Sharp in the penalty box for a hooking infraction, Minnesota doubled its lead late in the second period. Parise, who had just one goal in his previous eight games, swatted home the rebound of a shot by right winger Jason Pominville, which hit left winger Dany Heatley in the chest before falling to the ice in front of Crawford.
"You're not going to play perfect against that team," said Wild coach Mike Yeo. "They've got a boatload of skill, and they find ways to make plays, but I thought that we did a really good job of limiting them, containing them, keeping them to the outside for the most part."
Chicago answered in the final seconds of the middle period, making it 2-1 via the work of two newcomers. Kane's shot from the blue line was deflected by center Joakim Nordstrom and right to the stick of Morin, who slid the puck over the goal line while Harding scrambled to get in position. Morin and Nordstrom had been called up from the Blackhawks AHL team in Rockford, Ill., on Wednesday, joining the team in Minnesota.
It took the Blackhawks less than a minute to tie the game in the third period when Saad stole a loose puck from Wild defenseman Ryan Suter and launched a rocket that beat Harding high on the stick side. Hossa's shot went to the same spot, giving the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead before Brodin scored on a power play to tie the game at 3.
"Penalty trouble cost us again. We couldn't find a way to kill those two penalties off," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews. "We've got to get in lanes when they shoot the puck from the point in the third period. It's those little things. We could be talking a little different about the game tonight if we'd have found a way to hold onto that one-goal lead."
Harding finished with 16 saves for the Wild.
NOTES: Wild LW Matt Cooke's goal early in the first period on Thursday broke a string of six consecutive games in which Minnesota had been scoreless in the opening 20 minutes. ... Blackhawks C Michal Handzus was scratched for the second consecutive game with an undisclosed illness. Also absent from the Chicago lineup was C Andrew Shaw, who missed his first game of the season after suffering an upper-body injury late in the Blackhawks 4-3 loss to Dallas on Tuesday. ... Wild G Josh Harding was named the NHL's Third Star of the Month for November after posting an 8-2-2 record with a 1.88 goals-against-average and a .926 saves percentage. ... Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane was the league's First Star of the Month. He posted a career-best 12-game point streak in November. ... Both teams left Minnesota immediately after the game. The Wild headed for Columbus, where they will face the Blue Jackets for the first time this season Friday night. Chicago headed for its home rink, where it will host the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.