The Blackhawks have made a habit of getting off to fast starts at home and coming from behind when they don’t start quickly. But Monday night against Minnesota, the Hawks got into an early hole and took home just their third regulation loss at the United Center this season.
“We got off to a little bit of a slow start,” said Troy Brouwer. “We had to kill some penalties and they wound up scoring some goals - it breaks your team's spirit. We tried to battle back but we just weren’t able to capitalize on our chances.”
“I don’t think we had a good start and it’s hard to win a game when you fall behind three goals,” said starting goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin. “It wasn’t our best game. Next time we’ve got to come out and start better.”
Though the Wild got on the board on a fluke goal that hit off of Brent Seabrook
’s skate on its way to the net, Minnesota took control and was able to put the game out of reach on back-to-back power play goals by Marek Zidlicky.
“We got behind 1-0 and things changed rapidly,” head coach Joel Quenneville said. “Then they scored on the power plays which put us in the deeper hole. [After that], we had a hard time getting quality opportunities and getting back in the game was tough.”
“[After those goals], we got away from our game plan,” said James Wisniewski. “They get up one or two goals and you see exactly what they do. They play a boring game – they just chip it out of the zone and clog the middle, and it works for them. We just didn’t get the puck in deep.”
The Hawks have rarely started slowly at home, due largely to the momentum the team draws from the passionate United Center crowds.
“It’s tough when you lose at home,” Brouwer said. “With the crowd and the building here, we have such momentum before the game even starts. We’re always ready to go and we pride ourselves on that. We just weren’t able to dig ourselves out of the hole tonight.”