For the first time this season, the only sounds in the Blackhawks' postgame dressing room were pieces of tape being ripped from pads and hushed tones.
Gone was the celebrating as the Hawks had their six-game winning streak to start 2013 snapped as the Wild edged them 3-2 in a shootout Wednesday night at Xcel Energy Center.
Matt Cullen scored the winner in the shootout for the Wild as the Hawks suffered their first loss on the road in five outings. Cullen and Cal Clutterbuck scored in regulation and Niklas Backstrom earned the victory in goal in relief of Josh Harding for the Wild, playing the second of back-to-back games.
"Those are the tight games in the last three or four games that we found a way to win," said Hawks captain Jonathan Toews, who scored in regulation and in the shootout. "We were this close again and we had a great chance to win in overtime and in the shootout but we just came up a bit short.
"We just wanted to play a patient game and keep wearing them down as much as we could (but) we didn't get on them as much as we wanted to."
Andrew Shaw also had a goal in regulation for the Hawks but it wasn't enough as Corey Crawford suffered the defeat in the first of the six-game trip. The Hawks managed a point and lead the NHL with 13, but fell to 4-0-1 on the road.
"We played a lot better the second half of the game," defenseman Duncan Keith said. "If we had won we probably would be saying we played a great game and we're happy, but we lost in a shootout so we're not going to get down and get negative."
After the Wild struck early in the opening period on Cullen's goal, the Hawks answered when Shaw and Toews scored 1 minute, 31 seconds apart a few minutes later. First, Shaw rushed the net and took a pass from Bryan Bickell and stuffed it past Harding.
Toews put the Hawks ahead when he snapped a quick shot from the left dot that eluded Harding. Wild coach Mike Yeo had seen enough and yanked Harding, who proceeded to take out his frustration on his goalie stick in the tunnel leading to the dressing room.
The Hawks rode the momentum of a strong penalty-killing effort into the intermission but it was short-lived as Clutterbuck redirected a long Tom Gilbert shot in the opening minute of the second.
Hawks' streak ends in 3-2 shootout loss
Chicago Tribune | Jan 31