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Hawks make rookie's 2nd start memorable
Minnesota rookie goalie Josh Harding will be sad to see the NHL season end in a few days.
Harding made 27 saves in his second NHL start Tuesday night and Stephane Veilleux scored the deciding goal on a third-period breakaway in the Wild's 2-0 victory over the Blackhawks.
It has been a perfect start for Harding, who beat St. Louis in a shootout last week in his NHL debut.
"To get my first win in a shootout and now get a shutout, you can't write a better book than that," said Harding, expected to play for the Wild's Houston minor-league team in the AHL playoffs.
"It makes the game easy when you're in the right position, but this is a great feeling and definitely something big to get off my chest."
Pierre-Marc Bouchard added an empty-net goal with 1 minute 11 seconds remaining to help the Wild win for the fifth time in its last seven games. The Hawks, who have lost five of their last six, have lost 40 of 41 games by two goals or less this season.
"I don't think our power play generated enough quality chances from the start," Hawks coach Trent Yawney said.
"They've got the best penalty kill in the league, so you've got to work for loose pucks. It wasn't our best night."
Veilleux scored after a Hawks turnover midway through the third period, with Brian Rolston chipping the puck out of the Chicago zone to Veilleux, who had gotten loose behind defender Brent Seabrook.
Veilleux caught up to the puck at the blue line, corralled it and came straight in on goalie Nikolai Khabibulin. The Wild forward faked a backhand shot before tucking the puck past the goalie's right skate.
"It was a good play by Brian, and I just skated hard to finally get a breakaway," Veilleux said. "Then I just made a right and left move to put it in."