The Jonathan Toews swan song moved into the second-to-last verse as the Chicago Blackhawks took on the Minnesota Wild at home on Monday night. While the Blackhawks played inspired hockey for the first two periods, the Wild’s talent was able to overtake the Blackhawks in the end.
- The Wild jumped out to early lead in the first period with a goal from Matt Boldy. The Blackhawks responded with a goal from Joey Anderson to tie the game at 1–1.
- Head coach Luke Richardson said the Blackhawks made some adjustments and followed their game plan into the second period. The adjustments resulted in Anders Bjork notching his first goal of the season.
- Entering the third period, the Blackhawks carried a 2–1 lead and were outshooting the Wild by a wide margin. With the No. 1 seed in the Central Division still on the line, the Wild turned it on. Marcus Johansson scored two goals to wrestle the lead away from the Hawks.
- Gustav Nyquist scored an empty-net goal to cement the victory. The Wild were victorious 4–2.
In the game, Brock Faber had one shot and six blocked shots. Faber signed entry-level contract on Sunday after playing for the NCAA National Championship with the University of Minnesota on Saturday.
The Blackhawks currently hold the 32nd spot in the NHL, however, they are tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who have a game in hand on the Blackhawks. The race for the last spot in the NHL is coming down to the wire. Columbus takes on the Flyers on Tuesday, the Penguins on Thursday and finish with the Sabres on Friday.
Drew Commesso signed his entry-level contract on Tuesday, foregoing his last season at Boston University to join the Blackhawks’ organization. The contract begins next season and holds a value of $925,000 per season. Commesso also signed a professional tryout agreement with the Rockford IceHogs for the remainder of this season. Despite playing three years of college hockey and also appearing in the Olympics, Commesso is going to need some seasoning at the AHL level before being a mainstay with the Blackhawks in the future.
Prospects—specifically goalies—take sometime to develop. The Blackhawks have not developed a goalie since Corey Crawford. Crawford spent five full seasons in the AHL before joining the Blackhawks as a regular in 2010–11, but even then, the plan was for him to be the backup to Marty Turco. If you want a non-Blackhawks example, former BU goalie Jake Oettinger was drafted by the Dallas Stars in 2017 in Chicago. He spent 54 games in the AHL over the course of three seasons before becoming an NHL regular. So, people need to pump the brakes on Commesso being the Blackhawks’ goalie next season. He might make the odd appearance as an injury call-up throughout the season, but he will not be one of the team’s two primary goaltenders.
The Blackhawks return to the ice on Tuesday, traveling to face the Pittsburgh Penguins at 6:30 p.m. CDT.