Heading into the Tuesday night meeting between the two teams, the Wild had defeated the Hawks in their last three meetings. Of course, all of those meetings went to a shootout. Of the three shootout losses that the Hawks have this season, the Wild handed them one.
It didn’t take long for the Wild to realize they were in over their heads in trying to bring this record streak to an end. Coming into Tuesday at the United Center, the Blackhawks had taken points in 22 consecutive games to start the season. When they were done, the record stood at 23.
Among the reasons that the Wild lost to the Hawks on Tuesday night was the fact that Niklas Backstrom struggled. He had shut down the Hawks after relieving Josh Harding in their first meeting of the year. The second meeting wasn’t so kind to Backstrom.
Coming in off of three consecutive wins, Backstrom was pulled after the first period of play. He finished his night after allowing four goals on just 17 shots. Granted, the team in front of him didn’t offer much help, as they were outshot by a 17 to six count in the first period.
Backstorm was relieved by Darcy Kuemper heading into the second period. Kuemper allowed just one goal for the remainder of the game, as the Wild did make a run to get back in it. They got as close as 4-3 before Patrick Kane put the lead back at two for Chicago, which would stand for the final.
Prior to Tuesday night, Backstrom had allowed at least four goals only twice on the season. It’d be hard to believe that he won’t bounce back in his next outing.