ST. PAUL, Minn. – A return to the road did not agree with the Blackhawks against the Wild on Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center.
The Hawks woke up from a sluggish opening 39 minutes to take a lead in the third period, but they couldn’t hold on in a 4-3 loss that snapped a six-game road winning streak.
Wild defenseman Marco Scandella scored the winner with 1 minute, 48 seconds to play in the third period, sending a wrist shot past Hawks goalie Corey Crawford.
The Wild’s Jonas Brodin had evened the score 3-3 in the third period on a power-play goal that went in off Hawks defenseman Johnny Oduya.
“We had an opportunity there, a couple of penalty kills off us, and that’s the differential to me tonight,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “… It was a game we had right where we wanted it. We needed a kill, and we didn’t get it done.”
After the Hawks fell behind 2-0 in the second period, forward Jeremy Morin, fresh from Rockford, injected the first dose of energy into the Hawks’ evening. Joakim Nordstrom, also a recent call-up, redirected a Patrick Kane shot and Morin knocked it in with 17 seconds to play in the second period.
Hawks forward Brandon Saad tied the game 2-2 just 43 seconds into the third period when he came up with a steal and sent in a shot from the right circle.
Marian Hossa gave the Hawks the lead from the left dot, rifling a shot to the top right corner past Wild goaltender Josh Harding midway through the third period on a Hawks power play.
Morin and Nordstrom were filling in because the Hawks were playing without centers Michal Handzus, who was ill, and Andrew Shaw, who was out with an upper-body injury suffered in the Hawks’ 4-3 loss to the Stars on Tuesday.
Kane said before the game that the new players would have to step up their play.
“Certain guys are going to get a little bit more opportunity to play in certain situations, and we feel we have a lot of depth on our team,” Kane said. “That has been one of the most positive things about our team for a long time, is the depth of our organization. Whether it’s prospects coming up or guys getting more ice time, they’re going to have to step up and fill in some roles.”
Wild forward Matt Cooke scored from the slot just 4:23 into the game off assists from Torrey Mitchell and Erik Haula.
Zach Parise gave the Wild a 2-0 lead in the second period when he scored on a rebound on the power play.
“It seems like right now when we make mistakes at the end, it’s costing us,” Hossa said. “It was an up-and-down game. I feel like we made a little more mistakes than they did.”