Minnesota out to prove a point, picked up 2 in Chicago - Mid-South News, Weather, Traffic and Sports | FOX13

Minnesota out to prove a point, picked up 2 in Chicago

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Minnesota Wild were out to prove they were better than they showed in the opening round of last year's playoffs. They succeeded and did so by defeating the Blackhawks 5-3 at the United Center on Saturday night.

When a team keeps winning and picking up points, bad habits and deficiencies are easily overlooked. The Blackhawks have had problems scoring goals and except for Jonathan Toews, have had trouble in the face off circle. Their penalty killing has been a sore spot and the power play hasn't been any great shakes either. For the most part, the goaltending has been fine and has helped cover up some of the problem areas. Versus the Wild as well as in Tampa Bay the other night, the Hawks gave up too many good scoring chances and also allowed too many soft goals. It wouldn't be a stretch to say this club has suffered some costly brain cramps this season.

Over the last two games, Nikolai Khabibulin had a bad outing and Corey Crawford looked uncomfortable last night. In total, the Blackhawks haven't played a full sixty minutes. Against Minnesota they didn't appear mentally prepared. The Wild made the most of their opportunities and deserved capturing two points in Chicago.

The Wild play solid defense, rely on good goaltending and normally grind out their victories. Scoring five goals on the road would be considered an offensive explosion for Minnesota. For those who believe the team with the most shots is always the best club, that wasn't the case last night.

The Blackhawks were also credited with 34 hits which was uncharacteristically high. The heavy does of physicality was more an indication of chasing the puck and running around out of position.

The Blackhawks blasted 36 pucks at Niklas Backstrom and he did make some very good saves. Backstrom was especially effective in keeping Patrick Sharp scoreless on the night despite his game high seven shots on goal. Sharp has been snake bit this season and looks frustrated at times.

Sharp isn't alone in appearing frustrated as his teammates are taking some bad penalties and making careless plays. Patrick Kane was trying to create offense and scored a goal, but for the second consecutive game he was a minus three. The top guns can do more and except for Marian Hossa they haven't been great on both sides of the puck.

The players won't have to wait long for revenge as a rematch in Minnesota is scheduled for Monday night. The Hawks will then complete a three game in four day stretch by playing Ottawa at the United Center on Tuesday.

The schedule will be more congested and more difficult in November. Joel Quenneville had two new faces in the lineup versus the Wild as forwards Jeremy Morin and Brad Mills made their season debuts. Morin played well and was noticeable. He recorded four hits and Mills had five.

Quenneville knows this club hasn't found their best stride and is still seeking the right mix. The two time Stanley Cup winning bench boss realizes his squad has to be polished up as more difficult challenges await.

After all, everyone wants to beat the champs.

I will be back on Tuesday morning and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia.

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