After a harrowing 5-3 loss to Minnesota at the UC on Saturday, the Hawks headed for the Twin Cities for a second go-round with one of the hottest teams in the league. The first game was one where it felt that every single rub of the green went against Chicago, coupled with a goalie standing on his head. Tonight it was very much the reverse.

 

Each goal had some narrative to it.. first Patrick Sharp broke a 5-game scoreless skid with a nice finish from a wonderful Hossa feed from behind the net. Nik Backstrom didn’t even see the puck that went past him. Then, shortly after the Wild had tied the game on a bullet from brand-new Hawks-Botherer Jason Pominville, Sheldon Brookbank, reinstated in the line up ahead of the faltering Roszival, rifled one home for his first of the season after some chaos created in front of the Minnesota goal.

Next storyline to happen along was Nick Leddy, who as I’m sure you may have heard once or twice, is from “The State Of Hockey”, and was traded to the Hawks for a player who didn’t really work out so well for the Wild, hit his impressive shot through a mass of bodies (and another one that Backstrom didn’t catch a glimpse of till it was behind him) to register his first goal against his former team.

This, though, was just the appetizer. With Hawks fans nervously eyeing up another two-goal lead and awhole 3rd Period to negotiated, Brandon “Man-Child” Saad took over: first doing a great impression of Patrick Kane’s spinorama pass to, well, who else but the aforementioned, who tucked the puck away and then streaking onto a great pass from Keith to beat Backstrom all ends up.

There was even time for another breakaway which ended in him colliding with thegoalie then laughing at various overheated fools in white who were trying to goad him into something stupid. Saad knows how to answer that.

This felt good: not only did the Hawks not blow a lead, they kept their foot on the Wild’s neck for the duration and had chances to turn this into a massacre.

Bullet points to follow:

 

  • Backstrom was bad tonight. We’re so used to seeing him doing his best impersonation of a wall when facing the Hawks that it was quite jarring (but not unpleasantly so) to witness him sliding all over the ice, struggling to hold long shots, getting badly positioned and all-in-all flailing. I’m guessing that he’s still nowhere near 100% fit. ¬†Crawford, on the other hand, had a rock solid night and it took a blistering shot from Pominville to beat him.
  • Matthew Dumba is going to be a fine NHL Defenseman one day. That day isn’t here yet, though. He was badly out of position for one goal and took himself and a teammate out by accident in the build-up to the 5th. Jared Spurgeon looked very uncomfortable as well. Oh, and Ryan Suter played 28.6 TOI, a very worrying trend this early in the year. They need Jonas Brodin healthy in a hurry.
  • There was some dumbness and chippiness going on tonight. Clayton Stoner drilled Andrew Shaw with a hard (but legal) hit. Brandon Bollig jumped in to assert whatever it is that he does in these situations. Luckily for the Hawks, Stoner is equally dumb and got himself an offsetting minor. Later on both Kyle Brodziak and Nate “The Dross” Prosser took exception to Brandon Saad bumping into Backstrom (for which he rightly took a penalty, but there was ni malice intended) and manhandled the Man-Child, prompting Brookbank to get involved. When it was alll sorted, Brookbank and Prosser both got 10 Minutes but The Dross also took an extra two for Unsportsmanlike, again negating the power play. Some Wild fans were very happy about this, lauding Prosser’s “Mean Streak” and whining about “Running Our Goalie”. These are probably the same people who tear up whenever the departed Cal Clutterbuck (who was credited with 67 Hits tonight, btw) gets mentioned.
  • Brandon Saad. He was a beast tonight. Just thought I’d mention that again. The new-look 2nd Lined of Saad-Pirri-Kane all registered 2 points and were positive in Corsi and Fenwick.
  • Brad Mills looks useful.. even if seeing Brian Campbell’s number flying around out there made me sigh wistfully.

OK: the Sens are in town tomorrow. I fully expect them to be one of the top teams in the East tis year (in favt, I tip them to go to the SCF, but what do I know?) They’re off to a shaky start however, so hopefully they don’t find their groove till after tomorrow.