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Postgame Hat Trick: Blackhawks 2, Wild 0

Late goal by Anisimov breaks scoreless tie, sends Minnesota to 3-3 homestand

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 2-0 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Saturday night:

1. As expected, the Blackhawks came back with a nice push following a 5-2 Wild win 23 days ago at the United Center.

Last season, Minnesota won the first of four meetings between the teams, only to see Chicago with wins -- and a better effort -- in the final three games of the series. Wild coach Bruce Boudreau expected a similar push back from the Blackhawks tonight and got it, especially from goaltender Corey Crawford, who was fantastic with 24 saves.

For his part, Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk was really good too, making 33 saves. The only shot to beat him came on a Chicago power play late in the game, when a Duncan Keith shot from the point was deflected on its way to the goal by Artem Anisimov. 

Video: CHI@MIN: Dubnyk snaps out the glove to deny Wingels

Minnesota had chances to beat Crawford, too, including breakways by Eric Staal and Jared Spurgeon a couple of minutes apart early in the third period with the game still scoreless. 

But what wasn't missing the net was gobbled up each time by Crawford, who has now blanked each of his past two opponents and has an active shutout streak that is at 131 minutes, 15 seconds.

Video: Bruce Boudreau Postgame against Chicago

"You're not going to win hockey games if you don't put the puck in the net when you've got open nets. It's just not going to happen," Boudreau said. "Granted, both goalies were out of this world, I thought. When you have open nets and you have two breakaways in the third period, you've got to score, because eventually the other team is going to get that one chance and put it in." 

The two Central Division rivals will take a breather until next month, when the clubs meet for a third time. That one will come on a Sunday back at United Center, as Minnesota tries to reverse last season's trend. 

2. Minnesota was unable to build on quality momentum from Thursday, when it rolled to a 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens.

It seemed to be a constant theme of the Wild's six-game homestand; play one good game, followed by one mediocre game, followed by another good game and one mediocre.

Now 5-5-2 on the season, it's sort of been Minnesota's main bugaboo through the campaign's first dozen games.

"Just the rhythm and what makes us successful, I don't think we've been doing it consistently enough," said Wild forward Eric Staal. "When we have at times, we've been good. But overall, for 60 minutes, it hasn't been done consistently enough. We've gotta find a way to be better individually and then collectively as a group, all of us."

For the second time on the homestand, the Wild's longest of the season, Minnesota was blanked. If not for a late empty-net tally by Alex DeBrincat on Saturday, it would have been the second time in the past 11 days the Wild would have been on the business end of a 1-0 loss. 

"That's disappointing. I think we played one good game, we come in the next day and next game and not play that good," said Wild forward Mikael Granlund. "We gotta be better, that's the bottom line and we're going to go on the road and it's gonna get tougher. We gotta be ready."

3. After spending the past two weeks at home, the Wild hits the road for its longest trip of the season so far; four games against Eastern Conference foes spanning six days and two countries.

Minnesota will be in Boston on Monday to start the road swing, before heading north of the border for back-to-back games in Toronto and Montreal on Wednesday and Thursday. The Wild will finish the trip on Saturday night in Philadelphia against the Flyers.

"We've played 12 games and other than one game against Detroit every game has been a one-goal game or we've been tied in the last 10 minutes of the game," Boudreau said. "I don't think we're trying to find ourselves. We just have to do what we're supposed to be doing. 

"We could've won 11 out of those 12 games and everybody would be saying, 'Jeez. We are a super team.' It's not. It hasn't gone our way right now, so we'll get back to the drawing board and we'll put a good road trip together and things will be good again."

Unable to find the consistency it wanted at home, the goal now is for the team to come together on the road and find it there before coming home to play four of six games through Black Friday.

"It's disappointing. Disappointed in the whole homestand. I think we're expecting better out of ourselves and to be out of this 3-3, I think to a man, we're disappointed in that," Staal said. "We've got a big challenge on the road, four games, gotta regroup as best we can in some tough buildings and be excited for the challenge, because it's only gonna be up to us to make this better and climb the hill, and our best chance is starting Monday in Boston."


Loose Pucks

• After the game, the Wild assigned forward Landon Ferraro to Iowa of the American Hockey League.

• In addition to Keith, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews also had assists on Saturday. 

• Chicago's Michal Kempny led all shooters with six shots on goal.

• In the past 42 games played between the teams dating back to 2007-08, each team has won 21 times.

• Minnesota finished 0-for-2 with the man advantage.

• Attendance: 19,218


He Said It

"It's definitely tough. We lost three, we won three, and I think we need to be definitely better in our building, in front of our own fans. And now we're going to have a tough road trip ahead of us with tough buildings to play in. We've got to make sure we bring everything we can on the road here." -- Wild forward Nino Niederreiter on the homestand


They Said It

"They had flurries. They had some dangerous looks. Their power play was dangerous. They had a couple shifts there late where they swarmed and hummed us in our end for a couple of long shifts. We got through it." -- Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville 


Three Stars

* Devan Dubnyk 

** Corey Crawford

*** Artem Anisimov

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