It was the first home game for new Minnesota Wild head coach John Torchetti. It just so happened to be a game played in front of thousands of fans outside at TCF Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Torchetti was brought in to light the proverbial fire under the Wild and appears to have worked (for now). Minnesota picked up their fourth straight win by drubbing the Chicago Blackhawks 6-1.
The 50,426 spectators in attendance waited a mere 3:25 to see the first goal of the game. Jarret Stoll blocked an Andrew Shaw shot and the puck ricocheted out to Justin Fontaine. Ryan Carter receives the pass in the neutral zone and is off for a mini-breakaway. Carter’s wrist shot is stopped by Corey Crawford. The rebound bounces out back to Carter, and Crawford stops his second attempt. Third time is a charm as the rebound goes right to Matt Dumba who pokes it past the Blackhawks netminder.
Dumba followed his goal up with a big hit on Andrew Desjardins. Phillip Danault stuck up for his teammate and gave Dumba the business. The two got into a shoving match and earned roughing minors. Danault received an extra two minutes for interference, giving the Wild the power play.
With 8-seconds left in the man advantage, Jason Pominville takes a slapshot from the point. Thomas Vanek redirects that blast past Crawford to put the Wild up 2-0.
Duncan Keith thought he put the Blackhawks on the board midway through the period, but it was immediately waved off by officials. In turn, Jonathan Toews was called for goaltender interference for appearing to make contact with Devan Dubnyk’s head. Chicago killed off the penalty.
A rough back and forth period ended with the Wild up 2-0.
Minnesota continued to their offensive push in the second. Pominville once again factored into the scoring as he passed the puck from behind the net to Erik Haula. Haula one-touch passed the puck to Nino Niederreiter on the far post who slid it by the outstretched leg of Crawford. Wild lead now 3-0.
Eight minutes later the trio of Haula, Nino, and Pominville connected again to give Minnesota a commanding 4-0 lead.
Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival’s game came to an early end after was assessed a five minute major and 10 minute game misconduct penalty for interference on Jason Zucker. While in the neutral zone, Zucker appears to crouch down to try to grab the puck. Rozsival follows through with his check and knocks Zucker backwards where his head slams on the ice.
After being down for a few minutes, Zucker left the ice with help and was carted back to the locker room. He did not return.
The Wild did not convert on the man advantage, and skated into the locker room with the score at 4-0.
Chicago swapped out goaltender to start the third period as Scott Darling took the place of Corey Crawford.
It appeared to be much of the same for the Wild and Blackhawks. Stoll unintentionally drop passes the puck back to Marco Scandella. The defenseman makes a shot-pass on net with the rebound bouncing to Ryan Carter. Carter flips the puck on his backhand past Darling. It’s now 5-0 Minnesota.
The third period dragged along from that point.
Patrick Kane killed the shutout for Devan Dubnyk with 7:55 left in the period on a goal from a sharp angle. The tally is Kane’s 35 on the season.
Facing a four goal deficit, Joel Quenneville pulled his goaltender with over six minutes to go in the game.
Erik Haula plucks the puck out of the neutral zone and races past Kane. Kane proceeds to pull down Haula in the Blackhawks’ zone. This results in an automatic goal for the Wild.
With 1:13 to go, Charlie Coyle nearly gave the Wild their seventh goal of the game on a breakaway, but Scott Darling was there to make the leg pad save.
Game ends in victory for the state of Minnesota by a score of 6-1. The Blackhawks record in outdoor games falls to 1-3-0.
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