The Associated PressCHICAGO (AP) — The Minnesota Wild overcame a shaky start for a timely victory against a division rival.
Ryan Suter gave Minnesota the lead on a 4-on-4 early in the third period, Devan Dubnyk made 34 saves and the Wild held off the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 on Wednesday to end a two-game slide.
Jonas Brodin scored in the second period for Minnesota (23-17-4). The Wild pulled two points ahead of Chicago (21-16-6) in the tight Central Division and tussle for playoff spots in the Western Conference. The Wild were outshot 14-5 in the first period — and lucky to trail just 1-0.
“The first period was terrible,” Suter said. “We weren’t skating, no energy, turning a lot of pucks over, and they were playing in our end.”
Following the opening frame, coach Bruce Boudreau told his players to get a grip on the game, and they responded.
“You saw the first period,” Boudreau said. “[The Blackhawks] probably had the puck 15 minutes in our zone, it was embarrassing. Being within one goal is amazing.”
“To [the Wild’s] credit, I thought in the second and third period, they really buckled down and played really hard.”
Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook, a healthy scratch in Chicago’s 8-2 victory in Ottawa on Tuesday, was back in the lineup and celebrated with his first goal since opening night. But that’s all the Blackhawks could muster.
“We had some OK zone time, but we really weren’t connecting on passes,” said Patrick Kane, who was held off the scoresheet after posting a career-high five points at Ottawa.
Sabre rattling interrupts practice
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Sabres coach Phil Housley is OK with tempers flaring on his struggling team after forward Evander Kane and defenseman Justin Falk had to be separated following a brief shoving match during practice.
Housley says it was “good to see some emotion” when asked about the skirmish on Wednesday.
According to Buffalo’s WGR-Radio, Kane was unhappy with Falk getting his stick up while the two battled in front of the net. Falk responded by telling Kane to “shut up,” and then pushed him once before the two were separated by coaches.