CHICAGO (AP) — Jonathan Toews was out. Same for Patrick Kane. Then the Chicago Blackhawks blew a lead in the final two minutes.
This turned into quite the big victory for the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Marian Hossa scored the lone goal in the shootout, and the banged-up Blackhawks stopped a three-game slide with a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.
Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford made 25 saves through overtime, and then stopped all three Minnesota attempts in the shootout. Hossa connected on the Blackhawks' second try in the tiebreaker by powering a shot through Ilya Bryzgalov.
"We played the way we had to play," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Playing it simple, advancing the puck, a check-first mentality."
"The way we played our last three games, not coming up with anything, it was important we did things the right way," he added. "Getting two points was what we're all about. We needed that."
It was Chicago's first game since Quenneville said Toews would miss the rest of the regular season due to an upper-body injury. The Blackhawks also were without Kane, another star forward who is expected to miss the rest of the regular season because of a lower-body injury.
"It is nice we can do it without them, but they're a big part of our team for how many years?" forward Bryan Bickell said. "We're just hoping that when they come back, they're healthy, and give us a spark. We just need to do what we did tonight through the rest of the games."
The Blackhawks did get Bickell back from an injury, and he put Chicago ahead 2-1 early in the third period. But Minnesota's Erik Haula tied it at 2 with 1:54 left in the third.
Hossa's shot in the tiebreaker lifted the Blackhawks to their first shootout win since Jan. 19 against Boston. They also improved to 6-8 in shootouts.