Wild beat Chicago, claim first place in Western Conference
CHICAGO — Jason Pominville scored in the third period, Devan Dubnyk made 33 saves and the Minnesota Wild beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on Sunday night to grab sole possession of the top spot in the Western Conference.
Nino Niederreiter and Chris Stewart also scored as Minnesota earned its fourth straight win and improved to 17-1-1 since Dec. 4. The Wild also beat the Blackhawks for the eighth straight time.
Minnesota (28-9-5) jumped in front for good when Marco Scandella shot the puck behind the net and it caromed right to Pominville standing all alone on the right side of the crease. He knocked it into the open net for his sixth of the season at 5:08.
Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter was sent off for tripping with 22.4 seconds left, but Chicago was unable to get a good look at the goal even with the 6-on-4 advantage.
Patrick Kane scored twice for the Blackhawks (27-14-5), who were coming off an ugly 6-0 loss at Washington on Friday night. Artem Anisimov, battling an illness, had two assists, and Corey Crawford made 29 stops.
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville called Friday night’s performance against the Capitals a failure “across the board,” and he went with seven defensemen for the Blackhawks’ first game of the season against Minnesota. He also leaned heavily on Kane, who has six goals and 12 assists in his last 14 games.
The reigning NHL MVP beat Dubnyk on the stick side at 4:33 of the first, and then added his 14th of the season in the second. The winger dug the puck out of the faceoff circle and snapped it over Dubnyk’s left shoulder for a 2-0 lead at 4:16.
Minnesota got one back after Anisimov was sent off for tripping at 5:04 of the second. Jonas Brodin’s long shot went off Wild center Mikael Granlund in front and dropped to the ice near Niederreiter, who slammed it in for his 12th.
Stewart tied it at 2 when he beat Crawford on the short side from the left circle with 9 minutes left. Stewart also scored in Minnesota’s 5-4 victory at Dallas on Saturday night.
NOTES: It was Kane’s first multigoal game of the season. … The Blackhawks scratched forwards Andrew Desjardins and Jordin Tootoo. … D Nate Prosser and RW Kurtis Gabriel were inactive for Minnesota.
Wild: Begin a four-game homestand Tuesday night against New Jersey.
Blackhawks: Visit Colorado on Tuesday night.