The game was meant to be won by the Blackhawks' or the Minnesota Wild's best players. It was, after all, billed as an early statement game between the best teams in the Western Conference, according to the standings.

So it was fitting that Wednesday's game at Xcel Energy Center came down to a shootout.

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane beat Niklas Backstrom while Ray Emery turned away Matt Cullen and Dany Heatley in the Hawks' 4-3 victory. The Hawks have 42 points in 31 games and the Wild 44 points in 32 games.

"It was a good game by both teams," said Kane, who scored a remarkable goal in the shootout with a slow-moving approach and a ton of moves. "I just kind of slowed down and waited for the goalie to bite. I was kind of practicing to go slow and see which way the goalie bites. It was a good finish to a good game."