Sports

Chicago Blackhawks get fast start, cruise past struggling Minnesota Wild 4-1

  • Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Minnesota Wild during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Chicago, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

    Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Minnesota Wild during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Chicago, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)  (The Associated Press)

  • Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw (65) battles for the puck with Minnesota Wild center Kyle Brodziak (21) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Chicago, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

    Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw (65) battles for the puck with Minnesota Wild center Kyle Brodziak (21) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Chicago, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)  (The Associated Press)

  • Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) battles for the puck with Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle (3) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Chicago, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

    Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) battles for the puck with Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle (3) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Chicago, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)  (The Associated Press)

Marian Hossa, Bryan Bickell and Brad Richards each had a goal and an assist, leading the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-1 victory over the sliding Minnesota Wild on Sunday night.

Defenseman Johnny Oduya also scored and Corey Crawford had 36 saves as Chicago rebounded from an ugly 5-2 loss at Edmonton on Friday night. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane added two assists apiece in the opener of a four-game homestand.

The weary Wild dropped their fifth consecutive game, including a 3-1 home loss to Nashville on Saturday night. Matt Cooke scored his third goal in the third period, and Niklas Backstrom had 31 saves in his third consecutive start.

Trailing 2-0 in the second, Minnesota had a chance to get back in the game, but defenseman Nate Prosser's shot went off the outside of the left post at 8:04. The Blackhawks then caught a break when Kane's shot went off Prosser's left skate and right to Richards, who beat Backstrom from the left side for his ninth goal.

Wild forward Jason Zucker made a great move to draw a penalty shot with 3:43 left in the second, but he sent a backhand wide of the net and a trailing Oduya made it 4-0 at 18:25 when he jumped on a loose puck for his second goal.

The Blackhawks improved to 3-0 against the Wild this season with their second win over Minnesota in four days. Kane had a goal and two assists and Crawford made 42 saves in Chicago's 4-2 road win on Thursday night.

Just like in their most recent matchup, the Blackhawks put together a strong start.

Playing on the eve of his 36th birthday, Hossa tapped in his ninth goal at 4:17 of the first. Brandon Saad made a nice cross-ice pass to an open Toews, who then played it across the goalmouth to Hossa for the easy score.

It was goal No. 473 for Hossa, moving him into a tie with former Blackhawks great Denis Savard and Alexander Mogilny for 50th on the NHL's career list.

Kane then made a nifty dash through the Minnesota zone to set up Bickell for a 2-0 lead at 7:53. It was Bickell's fifth goal in his last seven games and No. 9 on the season.

The fast start was more than enough for Crawford, who was working on his second shutout of the season before Cooke had a rebound goal with 4:52 remaining. But Crawford still earned his 17th win of the season.

NOTES: The Blackhawks improved to 15-0 when leading after two periods. ... Wild D Marco Scandella missed his third consecutive game with an upper-body injury. Minnesota also scratched C Jordan Schroeder and D Justin Falk. ... Blackhawks C Joakim Nordstrom was a healthy scratch after playing in the previous four games. F Kris Versteeg missed his fifth consecutive game with a left hand injury, and D Tim Erixon was a healthy scratch for Chicago.

___

Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap