A slow start did not stop the Minnesota Wild from winning for the fourth time in five games.
The Wild rallied to tie the game late in the third period, Josh Harding may have stolen the game in the first period by robbing Patrick Sharp on the backdoor with his glove.
“That was an unbelievable save,” Marco Scandella said. “Once we saw that on the bench. We (knew) he was not going to allow many pucks in tonight. He really did his job tonight and gave us a chance to win.”
Harding improved to 5-2 in his last seven starts with 22 saves, 20 of which came in the first two periods. He also robbed Patrick Kane in the first shootout attempt before stopping all three shooters.
An unrestricted free agent this summer, Harding may have played his final game in a Wild uniform. But, he did not let that distract him.
“I didn’t think about that,” Harding said. “Whatever happens after the year, that’s what happens after the year.”
The Wild (35-35-11) turned the momentum in the third period before a high sticking penalty by Bryan Bickell provided it the man advantage it needed.
It took one minute and eight seconds for the Wild’s power play unit to capitalize. Cal Clutterbuck got to the front of the net and redirected a shot by Scandella past Corey Crawford.
The power play goal ended Crawford’s shutout bid three minutes and 12 seconds before the end of regulation. With 55, Crawford has the most starts this season by a goaltender without recording a shutout.
Scandella set a franchise record by logging 35 minutes and 32 seconds of ice time. It is the NHL’s longest since Chris Pronger played 35 minutes and 43 seconds for the Philadelphia Flyers on March 11, 2009.
“I was expecting to play a little bit more (with Prosser out),” Scandella said about his lengthy ice time. “All the (defensemen), we did a great job of getting the puck north and making it easier on ourselves.”
The Blackhawks (44-26-11) struck first when Michael Frolik’s turnaround shot glanced off Nate Prosser’s skate and right to Jamal Mayers on the backdoor for an open-net tally.
The Wild played the entire 45 minutes of the game with five defensemen after Prosser was given a game misconduct for head butting Mayers after the whistle to the left of Harding.
“He pushed me in the stomach and I fell forward. It was the most unintentional thing I have ever done,” Prosser said. “He sold it pretty well. I felt bad at the time, but looking at it, he was back the next shift. I think he sold that way too much for what it was.”
If Prosser is suspended for Saturday’s season finale, the Wild could use its 47th different player to play this season and 10th to make his Wild debut.
No. 3 – Cal Clutterbuck. The Wild forward scored a goal.
No. 2 – Marco Scandella. The Wild defenseman recorded an assist.
No. 1 – Josh Harding. The Wild goaltender stopped 22 shots and three shootout attempts.
Chicago 1 0 0 0 – 1
Minnesota 0 0 1 0 – 2
First Period – 1, Chicago, Mayers 6 (Frolik), 11:37. Penalties – Heatley, Min (slashing), 8:19; Prosser, Min, major (head butting; served by Christensen), 18:19; Prosser, Min, misconduct (game), 18:19.
Second Period – None. Penalties – Cuma, Min (delay of game-puck over glass), 4:59; Kane, Chi (hooking), 9:24; Falk, Min (hooking), 15:23; Mayers, Chi (roughing), 15:23; Zucker, Min (roughing), 15:23.
Third Period – 2, Minnesota, Clutterbuck 15 (Scandella, Heatley), 16:48 (pp). Penalties – Bickell, Chi (high sticking), 15:40.
Overtime – None. Penalties – Kane, Chi, double minor, (roughing), ; Clutterbuck, Min, double minor (roughing), 4:21.
Shootout – Chicago Kane (save), Sharp (save), Stalberg (miss). Minnesota Christensen (save), Koivu (save), Setoguchi (goal).
Shots on goal – Chicago 10-11-1-1 23. Minnesota 3-11-8-1 23.
Goalies – Chicago, Crawford (22-23). Minnesota, Harding (22-23). A – 18,643. Referees – Ian Walsh, Dennis LaRue. Linesmen – Brad Lazarowich, Steve Miller.