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Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 5, Blackhawks 2

Stewart scores twice, Dubnyk makes 36 saves as Minnesota wins first game of season

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 5-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center in Chicago on Thursday night:

1. Considering the circumstances, Thursday's win was likely one of the gutsiest you'll see all season.

Already down Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund when the game began, the Wild (1-1-1) lost Marcus Foligno, Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle to injury over the course of the contest. Down to eight forwards for much of the final period, Minnesota won anyway, tallying four goals in the third to win its first game of the season and deal the Blackhawks (3-1-1) their first regulation loss.

"It was tough. The boys battled, and we worked hard for that win and we showed resiliency," said Wild forward Chris Stewart, one of the team's heroes once again. "With injuries comes opportunity. We know guys have to step up, and we did that tonight. We'll enjoy this tonight and get back to work tomorrow and get ready for Columbus."

Video: MIN@CHI: Stewart gives Wild the lead in the 3rd

Stewart has been one of those who has stepped up for the Wild through three games. He's scored at least one goal in every game, adding a late empty-net goal on Thursday for a two-goal night. He also has one assist for a total of five points.

Video: MIN@CHI: Stewart pots second goal on empty-netter

"That's why we're one of the deeper teams in the League here," Stewart said. "When your guys go down you want to step up for your teammates. It was me tonight and who knows? It can be someone else next game."

Video: MIN@CHI: Zucker banks puck off Crawford for PPG

Another one of those players has been Jason Zucker, who was credited with the game-winning goal on Thursday. He jammed away at a loose puck near the crease less than two minutes after Stewart's first tally, giving the Wild a critical two-goal lead.

He also dished out the assist on Stewart's lead goal, a fantastic pass that allowed his teammate a look at an open net.

"That was a really gutsy effort by our club," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "I've been in the minors for a lot of years and played shorthanded like that, but I don't think I've played shorthanded like that in the NHL."  

2. Despite being one of the NHL's best rivalries over the past few years, its been a rather tame one. That wasn't the case on Thursday.

It started early, when Foligno -- getting his first taste of the rivalry -- sent a statement by sending Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook sailing into the Chicago bench.

Video: MIN@CHI: Foligno checks Seabrook into the bench

A few seconds later, Connor Murphy made sure Tyler Ennis knew he was there with a big hit. For much of the night, the sound of the boards rattling echoed throughout the arena.

In the second period, things boiled over when Foligno and John Hayden dropped the mitts near center ice. It was just the second fight between the two teams in the past five years, and the first since March 29, 2016, when Matt Dumba and Andrew Shaw squared off in a game at Xcel Energy Center.

3. The fight seemed to energize the Blackhawks, who took the game over until the final minute of the period.

With Foligno and Hayden cooling their jets in the penalty box, their eyes were trained to the right in the direction of the Blackhawks offensive end. Chicago controlled possession and had several great opportunities, but were stymied at every turn. If if wasn't Jared Spurgeon sniffing out one chance with some nifty stick work, it was Eric Staal doing more of the same.

Video: MIN@CHI: Spurgeon bats puck away to prevent a goal 

"The depth of their team, when you get stuck out there rolling around on your end, that's going to happen but all we can do is weather the storm," Dubnyk said. "We had some pretty big plays. [Spurgeon] keeps that one out of the net, that was fluttering there, those were some big plays for us."

In between, Devan Dubnyk turned away everything he saw, stopping 16 shots in the period to keep things scoreless ... for a spell. Dubnyk finished with 36 saves in the game. The victory was his 100th in a Wild uniform.

Video: MIN@CHI: Dubnyk makes a nice glove save on Hayden

In what had been a ridiculously fast-paced period overall, things went bonkers in the final minute. The puck went end to end, coming to a rest on the blade of Charlie Coyle's stick as he led a 2-on-1 break with Staal. Coyle slid the puck over to his centerman, who ripped a one-timer between Corey Crawford's right arm and his arm pit and into the back of the net with 34.5 remaining on the clock.

The goal was the second of the campaign for Staal, who also converted a breakaway the last time out in Carolina.


Loose pucks

• Boudreau said he didn't think Coyle or Niederreiter would be available to play in Saturday's game against Columbus. Foligno's status is unknown.

• With the win, the Wild moved to 9-2-1 in its last 12 games against the Blackhawks, including 5-1-0 in last six games in Chicago.

• Wild forward Mikko Koivu scored his second goal of the season and won a game-high 16-of-22 faceoffs (72.7 percent).

• Eleven different players have registered a point for Minnesota. 

• Ryan Hartman and Jonathan Toews were credited with Chicago's goals.

• Crawford finished with 29 saves on 32 shots.

• Attendance: 21,386


He said it

"It's definitely big names, but it's early in the year. We're going to battle through. We have great leadership in this room. [Dubnyk's] been great, we have Al [Stalock] on the back end if we need it as well. I know it's going to be a battle, but I think we're ready for it.." -- Wild forward Jason Zucker on overcoming injuries to high-end players
 

They said it

"[Minnesota] came in ready. They were sharp off the puck drop …They check well. They won a lot more puck battles than we did in vital situations." -- Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville
 

Dan's three stars

* Devan Dubnyk

** Chris Stewart

*** Jason Zucker

Video: Stewart scores twice as Wild defeat Blackhawks

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