Minnesota Wild defeats Chicago Blackhawks 4-1

Minnesota WildChicago BlackhawksNikolai KhabibulinBrent SeabrookJames WisniewskiUnited CenterPatrick Kane

Patrick Kane let his frustration show during another scoreless game for the winger, slamming his stick to the ice after a near-miss.

This time the Blackhawks' second-year standout, who hasn't scored in 11 games, wasn't alone as Kane's teammates were also shut down in the Minnesota Wild's 4-1 victory Monday night in front of 21,320 at the United Center.

Marek Zidlicky scored two goals and added an assist, and Niklas Backstrom made 40 saves to lift the Wild, which scored the first three goals. The Hawks fell in regulation for just the second time on UC ice. About the only positive to come out of the game on the Hawks' side was a Martin Havlat goal that led to a lucky fan winning $1 million through an Illinois Lottery promotion.

"That team is really good at forcing you to want to make plays by their blue line," the Hawks' James Wisniewski said of the defense-minded Wild. "It looks like it's there, and then all of sudden collapses and you turn the puck over.

"If they get up one or two goals, you see exactly what they do. They chip it out of the zone and clog the middle, and it works for them. We had a bit of a brain lapse. We didn't get the puck in deep and stick to our game plan."

Mikko Koivu opened the scoring in the first period with a shot from the top of the circles that hit Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook's skate and sailed over the right shoulder of goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.

Zidlicky made it 2-0 later in the period with a power-play goal off a slap shot from inside the blue line, and his second came early in the third on the power play.

The Hawks cut the deficit to 3-1 on Havlat's 15th goal of the season. Cal Clutterbuck ended the scoring with an empty-net goal in the final minute.

The unidentified winner on Havlat's goal, a season ticket-holder, was awarded $1 million because of the timing of the goal — at the 10:00 mark of the second period. He'll be introduced by the Hawks before their game against St. Louis on Wednesday night.

"We got off to a slow start and had a couple of penalties, and they ended up scoring some goals," Hawks winger Troy Brouwer said. "It breaks the spirit of your team."

Kane still leads the Hawks in scoring with 16 goals and 26 assists, but he's going through his longest drought of the season. Last season he had a span of 13 games without a goal.

The 20-year-old's best opportunity came in the waning moments of the second period when he found himself with an open net. However, Backstrom dove to his right and got his stick on Kane's chance, and Kane didn't hide his disappointment.

"If you look throughout the [11] games, I think I've had a Grade A opportunity probably in every one," Kane said. "I just have to bury my chances and pick it up for the team."

ckuc@tribune.com

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