|Date of game: 12/16/2014
Recap: Chicago vs. Minnesota
Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Patrick Kane's late power-play goal led the Chicago Blackhawks to a hard-fought 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.
Brent Seabrook and Ben Smith each had a goal and an assist, Jonathan Toews lit the lamp and added two helpers and Marian Hossa also scored for the Blackhawks, who have won 10 of their last 11 games.
Antti Raanta made 26 saves in the first meeting between the two clubs since Chicago eliminated Minnesota with a 4-2 series win in the Western Conference Semifinals.
"They're getting better and better," Smith said of the Wild. "It's a strong rivalry that's growing."
Nino Niederreiter scored on a penalty shot, while Marco Scandella and Thomas Vanek also posted goals for the Wild, who have dropped two of their last three.
Niklas Backstrom gave up four goals on 38 shots in the loss.
After went Erik Haula went off for hooking, the Blackhawks got set up and cycled down low as Toews dished a pass from the right circle to Kane at the goal line. Kane sent the puck towards the slot, but it deflected off a Wild defender and into the net with 3:28 to play.
Haula was not pleased with the penalty called on him.
"Four minutes left and (the referee) decides a good hockey game with a weak penalty like that," he said.
Smith sealed the win with an empty-net marker with 14 seconds remaining.
The visitors were behind 3-1 when Niederreiter was tripped on a breakaway by Hossa and was awarded a penalty shot 7:13 into the third. The Minnesota forward calmly skated up the middle, moved the puck from this forehand to his backhand and roofed it over Raanta for a 3-2 game.
Scandella's right point shot deflected off a Blackhawks defender's stick and past a screened Raanta for a tied game midway through the final stanza.
Mikael Granlund skated behind the net and dished a pass to Vanek, who one- timed the puck over the blocker of Raanta for a 1-0 lead with 7:11 remaining in the first period.
The Blackhawks went ahead with three straight goals in the second period.
Seabrook made it a 1-1 game 8:10 into the frame after his blast from the high slot flew past the shoulder of Backstrom.
Just over four minutes later, Hossa gave Chicago the lead after he took a pass from behind the net and wristed a shot through the pads of the Minnesota netminder.
Backstrom made several great point-blank saves in tight on Smith, but the puck got behind him and Toews was there to tap it into the net for a 3-1 lead with 3:39 remaining in the middle stanza.Game Notes
Chicago has won seven straight home games and are 11-3-1 at United Center this
season .. Blackhawks star defenseman Duncan Keith missed the game with an
undisclosed illness ... Scandella returned to the Minnesota lineup after
serving a two-game suspension.