How it happened: For 40 minutes, the Hawks played a near-perfect road game, getting up 3-0 before a Wild push in the third. The Hawks continue to roll behind Jonathan Toews' line, which accounted for two of the second-period goals and was dominant with the puck once again. Patrick Sharp finished a scoring play after a pass by Toews from behind the Wild net, and later, Patrick Kane found Toews for a one-time put in on a 2-on-1 break. Tomas Kopecky also scored for the Hawks, crashing the net on a rebound goal. The Hawks’ lone major mistake occurred when Nick Leddy fell asleep and let Martin Havlat behind him for a breakaway goal. Havlat’s early third-period goal grabbed some momentum for his team but two subsequent penalty kills by the Hawks snuffed out any further momentum. Brent Burns had a net-crashing goal late, but that’s as close as the Wild came. A shorthanded goal by Marian Hossa in the closing minutes iced the game.
What it means: With the victory, the Hawks broke a tie with the Wild in the standings, moving up to sixth in the Western Conference. It was also a season-high fifth consecutive win as they’re finally on a long awaited roll, which includes points in nine of their last ten games. Smart hockey has been the theme during the streak. The Hawks are simply taking advantage of opportunities while limiting opponents’ chances, employing sound hockey instincts. Things could have gone south during three penalty kills in the third period, but the Hawks were up to the task.
What’s next: A busy week continues with another game against a Western Conference playoff contender on Wednesday when the Hawks host the Calgary Flames.