Backstrom and Wild turn back Blackhawks, 4-2
CHICAGO – Antti Miettinen scored the go-ahead goal, Niklas Backstrom made 31 saves and the Minnesota Wild beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 Tuesday night in the teams' final game before the All-Star break.
The Wild go into the break on a roll, with four wins in five games after the comeback victory. Chicago lost its second straight after a 5-0-1 stretch.
Miettinen's goal on a splendid tip-in of Andrew Brunette's pass from the left circle broke a 2-all tie with 3:47 left in the second. Pierre-Marc Bouchard made it a two-goal lead in the third by scoring on a backhanded rebound over sprawling goalie Corey Crawford.
Chuck Kobasew and Martin Havlat also scored for the Wild, while Patrick Sharp and Troy Brouwer had goals for the Chicago.
With 4:33 left the Blackhawks got an apparent goal from Jonathan Toews that would have pulled them within one, but officials ruled the net had been knocked off its mooring before the puck crossed the line. But a replay showed that the puck went in before the net was knocked loose, drawing an angry reaction from the Blackhawks and the crowd at the United Center where some fans began chanting a profanity in protest.
Minnesota has 14 road wins this season, one more than all of last season.
Kobasew tied the game early in the second when he directed the puck between Crawford's legs from in front of the goal after a shot from Jared Spurgeon hit both of the goalie's pads.
Havlat, the former Blackhawk who was added to the All-Star game on Tuesday, wasted little time in burning his former team. He took a crossing pass from Kyle Broadziak after a Chicago turnover, gathered it off the boards and rifled a high shot from the right circle over Crawford's glove just 1:47 into the game.
But 2 minutes later, Sharp scored on the power play from the near left side — his 26th goal, one more than the All-Star had all of last season. The score came after a penalty against another former Blackhawk, defenseman Cam Barker.
Backstrom's fabulous diving stick save on Brouwer, who was wide open in front of the net, preserved the tie momentarily for the Wild.
Brouwer came back a short time later and shoveled a puck around defenseman Greg Zanon — who had his back turned — and into the net to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead
Minnesota had a two-man advantage for 47 seconds in the opening period but Crawford was able to fight off the power play and Chicago held on for the one-goal lead after one.
Notes: Chicago's Marian Hossa was a scratch because he was not feeling well. He missed the morning skate. ... The Blackhawks don't play at the United Center again until Feb. 16, when Minnesota returns. Chicago has a six-game road trip after the All-Star break, starting Feb. 1 against Columbus. The Wild's next game is Feb. 1 at home against the Kings. ... Chicago rookie defenseman Nick Leddy, a first-round pick of the Wild before he was traded to the Blackhawks last February as part of the deal that sent Barker to Minnesota, played against the team that drafted him for the first time. Barker faced the Blackhawks for the first time. ... It will be Havlat's second All-Star appearance. He went in 2007 while with Chicago. ... The Blackhawks are 16-13 at home this season.