For the last 2 days, the term “flip the switch” has come up in almost every interview every Blackhawk player has done.
As in, once the playoffs start, the Hawks need to be able to regain the form that won them the Stanley Cup last season. But reaching that level of play isn’t as easy as, well, flipping a switch.
The Hawks flipped that switch a little closer to the “on” position Thursday night – albeit just a little – in defeating the Wild 3-2 in a shootout to snap their three-game skid before a crowd of 21,791 at the United Center.
The Wild couldn’t score on Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford, while Marian Hossa provided the lone goal of the shootout. But the game wasn’t without its shaky moments both late and early.
“We played the way we had to play,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Playing it simple, advancing the puck with a check-first mentality. … We didn’t give up much all game.”
The Hawks took a 2-1 lead on goals from Ben Smith in the second period and Bryan Bickell in the third.
“That was important,” Bickell said of the victory. “They’re a frsutrating team to play against. … But we stuck with it. It’s nice to get a shootout win. We haven’t had many of those. It’s nice to break our slump.”
The Hawks relinquished the lead late in regulation when the Wild’s Erik Haula scored on a shot that appeared to deflect off the stick of Matt Cooke on its way to the net.
Blackhawks 3, Wild 2, SO
Star of the game: Marian Hossa, Blackhawks, lone goal in shootout
Up next: Blackhawks at Blue Jackets, 6 p.m. today
TV/Radio: CSN/720 AM