Minnesota coach Mike Yeo has voiced his displeasure with his struggling team over the past week. It looks as if his words might have struck a chord with the Wild.
Defenseman Ryan Suter drove to the net and poked in a rebound with 7:56 left in the third period, lifting the Wild to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.
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"That’s a real good response from our group," Yeo said. "As well as we have in a long time, we stayed with the game, stayed patient, kept defending well."
After Chicago’s Corey Crawford made an acrobatic right pad save on Mikael Granlund on a breakaway, Granlund missed on a rebound attempt. Suter then cruised to the net and buried a loose puck that was dangling near the goal line.
Minnesota had lost three in a row and six of seven.
"We hadn’t played well, hadn’t played consistent in a long time, and we finally put a game together," Suter said. "Something that we can build on.
"Finally, we got everybody moving in the right direction."
Chicago forward Patrick Kane scored a power-play goal at 5:21 of the second period to extend his point streak to 20 games. Kane has 12 goals and 20 assists during the longest such run for a U.S.-born player.
The dynamic winger can match Hall of Famer Bobby Hull’s franchise record from the 1971-72 season with a goal or an assist Thursday night at Ottawa.
"It would be nice, especially when a guy like Bobby Hull has the record, but it’s not really something I’m thinking about," Kane said. "But I’m not really worried about it anymore.
"I’m just trying to play the game and help my team the best I can."
Jason Pominville also scored for Minnesota, and Devan Dubnyk made 30 saves in his 14th start in 15 games.
Crawford finished with 34 stops.
Dubnyk returned to the net after Darcy Kuemper made 40 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss to Dallas on Saturday when the Stars rallied from a 3-0 deficit.
Kane broke the record for a U.S. player when he got to 19 games with a goal in Chicago’s 3-2 overtime loss at Los Angeles on Saturday. He has at least one point in 23 of the Blackhawks’ 25 games this season.
The Wild dominated the first period, outshooting Chicago 14-8 and taking a 1-0 lead on Pominville’s wraparound goal 4:09 in.
"We knew they’d been on the road, so we wanted to come out with a strong start," Suter said.
After Crawford stopped Jared Spurgeon’s shot from the slot, Granlund fired the rebound to the left of a wide-open net. But Pominville picked up the puck behind the goal line and curled it in around the post before Crawford could react.
Dubnyk robbed Chicago captain Jonathan Toews twice on prime chances in the first. He made a point-blank pad save on Marko Dano’s rebound attempt just 15 seconds into the second.
But Kane’s 15th goal of the season tied it at 1 five minutes later.
Chicago’s Duncan Keith stripped the puck from Mikko Koivu along the boards just inside the Minnesota zone and whipped the puck down low to a wide-open Kane at the inside edge of the circle.
The sellout crowd of 21,580 suddenly went silent for a moment as Kane held the puck and looked to the left to fake Dubnyk. Kane then fired a shot that ticked off the inside of Dubnyk’s left pad and continued in.
"I was just trying to go high, actually," Kane said. "I kind of flubbed the shot. I was lucky on it."
With Crawford pulled for an extra attacker — and Kane on the ice– the Blackhawks had several chances in the closing two minutes but failed to connect.
Notes:Kane was named one of the NHL’s three stars for November earlier in the day. … The Blackhawks played their first home game since Nov. 15. They went 3-1-2 on a Western road swing while the circus took over the United Center. … Minnesota D Marco Scandella returned after missing five games with a lower-body injury.