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

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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