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Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 3, Blackhawks 2

Pominville's third-period tally caps comeback win for Minnesota

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Recap: MIN 3, CHI 2

Pominville nets game-winner as Wild top Blackhawks

Jason Pominville netted the go-ahead goal in the third period as the Wild rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat the Blackhawks 3-2

  • 03:36 •

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 3-2 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center in Chicago on Sunday night:

1. Jason Pominville snapped a 19-game goal drought in style, scoring the game-winning goal in the third period.

The win moved Minnesota (28-9-5) into sole possession of first place atop both the Central Division and the Western Conference with 61 points. The Wild also has four games in hand on Chicago.

Pominville, who has had his share of bad luck this season -- even hitting a post earlier in the game on Sunday -- was left to his own devices next to the right post on his winner. The puck went back to defenseman Marco Scandella, who ripped a slapper wide of the goal, but it deflected off the end wall and right to Pominville, who scooped it into an open net for his sixth of the season and first since he scored against Vancouver on Nov. 29.

Video: MIN@CHI: Pominville buries rebound off end boards

"I obviously feel pretty snake-bitten lately, hit the cross bar pretty good there in the first, I've missed a lot of opportunites and it's been a little frustrating," Pominville said. "But [it's] nice to help the team out. I knew it was going to come. I was getting.

The win also extended Minnesota's regular season winning streak over Chicago (27-14-5) to eight games, dating back to the 2014-15 season. The Wild won the final two games of that campaign before sweeping all five meetings last season. Sunday's game marked the first of four games between the rivals in 2016-17. 

Video: Bruce Boudreau Postgame at Chicago

"To beat this team eight times in a row is really something," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "I don't understand how you can do it, I wish I would have had that knowledge a couple years ago. But it's a new year and it's just one in a row right now."

2. Down by two, it was the Wild power play that came up huge once again.

Minnesota entered the game 13th in the NHL in power play percentage, a number that has been climbing over the past month. After Patrick Kane scored his second goal of the game to give the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead, Wild forward Charlie Coyle drew a tripping penalty on Artem Anisimov. 

It took 79 seconds, but a shot from the point by Jonas Brodin deflected off the skates of Mikael Granlund in front to Nino Niederreiter, who ripped a quick shot past Corey Crawford to get Minnesota on the board.

Video: MIN@CHI: Niederreiter scores on the power play

"In this league, you have to count on your power play to pick you up," said Wild forward Chris Stewart. "Nino was in the right place at the right time, good hands, and put it home for us."

The Wild has now converted on at least one power play in 11 of its past 14 games, often at critical times during that stretch, including on Sunday. For the first time in the game, Minnesota appeared to come to life after the goal, eventually tying the game less than five minutes later.

"I feel like we need our power play and our penalty kill to be working to be successful," Niederreiter said. "That's why they call them the special teams. We have to make sure we are good there to win hockey games."

3. Stewart and Jordan Schroeder have developed great chemistry on the Wild's fourth line and it showed again on Sunday.

The two connected for a tap-in goal in Dallas on Saturday, one that capped a 2-on-2 rush and gave the Wild a 4-0 lead in the first period.

It was another rush opportunity against the Hawks on Sunday, and one that was foreshadowed for several seconds as the Wild flew down the ice.

After a great outlet pass by Suter to Schroeder down the right wing, the Wild entered the zone 2-on-3, with Tyler Graovac charging to the front of the net. 

"[It is] One of those plays that doesn't happen if [Graovac] isn't driving the middle and opens up that seam," Schroeder said. 

Perhaps the only guy that saw Stewart sneaking in along the left-wing boards was Schroeder, who made a great pass through three defensemen to the blade of Stewart, who sniped a short-side shot past Crawford to tie the game at 2-2. 

Video: MIN@CHI: Stewart buries a wrister to tie game at 2

"That's back-to-back games with a beauty pass from him," Stewart said. "I was drving the net and thought it was going to come off the pad but he put it right on my stick and I got it up."

The goal was Stewart's ninth of the season and and fourth in his past nine games overall. Schroeder, who looks like a completely different player since his latest recall from Iowa, now has a three-game point streak and has seven points in 12 games with Minnesota this season.

"We're feeding off each other," Schroeder said. "I think we have a good mix of things going on and it's working."

Defenseman Ryan Suter is also riding a three-game point streak with a goal and three assists during that span.

Video: Locker Room Postgame at Chicago


Loose Pucks

• Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk finished with 33 saves. Dubnyk improved to 16-1-2 over his past 19 starts and moved to 8-0-0 against the Blackhawks in his career with Minnesota. Sunday marked the two-year anniversary of his first career start in a Wild uniform.

• In addition to scoring two goals, Kane played a game-high 27 minutes, 9 seconds and had 12 shots on goal. 

• Artem Anisimov also had a two-point game for the Hawks, dishing out assists on both Kane goals.

• Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford made 29 stops.

• Minnesota ran its record to 17-1-1 over its past 19 games, capturing 35 out of a possible 38 points. 

• The Wild has earned at least one point in 12-straight road games, tying a franchise record. Its 33 points away from home are the most in the NHL.

• Attendance: 22,051


He Said It

"We don't think about needing to change things to come back, we just worry about playing our game and know we're going to have a good chance if we do that." -- Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk on Minnesota's ability this season to come back in games


They Said It

"We just needed to play better and finish these games and play better in the third period in tight games like that against a very good team. Just didn't get it done." -- Blackhawks forward Artem Anisimov


Dan's Three Stars

* Devan Dubnyk

** Patrick Kane

*** Jason Pominville

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