Skip to main content

Minnesota goalie Josh Harding stops 44 to lead Wild past Blackhawks 2-1

NHL.com @NHL

CHICAGO - Josh Harding made 44 saves, and Peter Olvecky snapped a tie early in the third period with his first NHL goal to help the Minnesota Wild beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 on Sunday night.

Dan Fritsche also scored for Minnesota, which was outplayed in the first half of the game, but rebounded to end Chicago's four-game winning streak.

The Wild's NHL-leading penalty kill snuffed all eight Chicago advantages.

Jonathan Toews scored for the Blackhawks, playing just their second home game since Jan. 21.

Harding, the backup to Niklas Backstrom, was sharp in earning just his second win this season in 14 games. Harding entered the game with a 1-7-1 record, despite a 2.25 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.

Chicago's Cristobal Huet started his sixth straight game and made 22 saves. Nikolai Khababulin, who normally alternates with Huet, is on injured reserve because of a lower-body injury.

Minnesota's Owen Nolan sustained a lower-body injury early in the second period and did not return.

The Blackhawks returned home following a 3-0 road trip. Entering Sunday's game, Chicago had played 11 of its last 12 games on the road, going 8-3-0 in the road contests and 9-3-0 overall.

The Blackhawks play 16 of their final 24 games at the United Center.

Chicago outshot Minnesota 18-5 in the first period and dominated play, but Harding made several tough saves to keep the game scoreless.

Additionally, Chicago's Andrew Ladd hit the post on a point-blank chance midway through the first, Toews misfired on a one-time attempt from the edge of the crease in the final seconds.

Harding was especially sharp early in the second to help the Wild whether 4:18 of consecutive Chicago power-play time, including a 5-on-3 advantage that lasted 1:42. He robbed Chicago's Troy Brouwer with a glove save 2:29 into the second during the 5-on-3.

Toews finally beat Harding at even strength - and on the Blackhawks' 26th shot - to give Chicago a 1-0 lead at 10:03 of the second.

Harding slid to his right to cover a possible shot from Martin Havlat. Havlat, however, passed to Toews, who fired into an open net from the edge of the crease.

Fritsche tied it 2:45 later with a power-play goal on a deflection in the air that withstood a video review.

Parked in front of the crease, Fritsche redirected Pierre-Marc Bouchard's shot from the top of the slot. The puck struck Fritsche's stick, ruled to be at crossbar height, and caromed downward past Huet.

Olvecky gave Minnesota a 2-1 lead at 3:30 of the third. Olvecky, playing in his 11th NHL game, fooled Huet with a low shot from the left circle.

Harding made a sprawling pad save on Dustin Byfuglien in the final seconds to preserve the win.

Notes: Minnesota LW Andrew Brunette didn't dress for a second straight game or accompany the Wild to Chicago due to a knee injury. Brunette's consecutive game streak ended at 509 on Saturday when he didn't play in Minnesota's 5-2 home win over Detroit. The streak was the longest among active NHL players. ... Toews has five goals and four assists in his last five games. ... Huet tied a season high for consecutive starts by a Blackhawks goalie. ... Although he's on IR, Khabibulin is listed as day-to-day with what likely is a recurring groin problem. Chicago goal leader Patrick Sharp missed his fourth game because of a left knee injury.

View More