Johansson helps Wild rally for 4-2 victory over Blackhawks
CHICAGO - The Minnesota Wild rested a couple key players, and then rallied for a dramatic victory.
It was one productive night for Marcus Johansson and company.
Johansson scored two goals late in the third period, and the short-handed Wild beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 on Monday.
Matt Boldy and Gustav Nyquist also scored for Minnesota in its second consecutive win. Filip Gustavsson made 39 saves in his second straight start.
"It wasn’t pretty, but we got it done," Johansson said.
Johansson’s 18th goal — a wrist shot on a 2-on-1 with 6 minutes left — tied it at 2. It was the Wild’s 14th short-handed goal of the season, breaking the franchise record.
Johansson then put Minnesota in front when he got a nice pass from Boldy and beat Alex Stalock on the glove side with 3:13 left.
Nyquist closed it out with an empty-netter with 1:01 remaining.
"We didn’t like the entire 60 minutes, but the third period was real good," Wild coach Dean Evason said.
Marcus Foligno’s fight with Blackhawks defenseman Andreas Englund with 7:40 left sparked Minnesota’s comeback. Foligno held Englund’s helmet in the air when the skirmish was over.
"It got us going," Johansson said.
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Anders Bjork and Joey Anderson scored for Chicago in its 11th loss in 12 games. The Blackhawks (25-49-6) are in the mix with Columbus, Anaheim and San Jose for the worst record in the NHL this season.
"It was contagious, turning the puck over," coach Luke Richardson said. "That’s been kind of an Achilles’ heel lately. We’ve played well, then get frustrated trying to win the game."
Minnesota (46-24-10) moved within two points of Colorado (49-24-6) and Dallas (45-21-14) at the top of the Central Division. It also got some rest for a couple of its best players.
Kirill Kaprizov, Mats Zuccarello, Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin stayed home, and Matt Dumba also got the night off.
The Wild host Winnipeg on Tuesday night, and Evason said the players could return to the lineup against the Jets.
Defenseman Brock Faber made his NHL debut, and forwards Marco Rossi and Nic Petan played after they were recalled from the minors on Sunday. Faber helped the University of Minnesota reach the Frozen Four and then signed with the Wild after the Golden Gophers lost to Quinnipiac in the NCAA championship on Saturday night.
The 20-year-old Faber was paired with 37-year-old Alex Goligoski, another former University of Minnesota star, for his first game.
"It was such a cool night," Faber said. "Topped it off with a win, which was huge."
The Wild scored first when Boldy knocked home his own rebound 12:32 into the first. It was Boldy’s 12th goal in his last 11 games and No. 31 in his second NHL season.
The Blackhawks tied it when Anderson jumped on a loose puck in front of Gustavsson with 1:49 left in the first. It was Anderson’s fourth goal in 22 games since he was acquired in a trade with Toronto in February.
Bjork then put Chicago in front with his first goal of the season 2:23 into the second. Buddy Robinson’s shot was stopped by Gustavsson, but the rebound went right to Bjork and the winger got just enough of the puck to score, despite largely whiffing on the shot.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews skated for 18 1/2 minutes in what could be one of his last home games with his only NHL team. The three-time Stanley Cup champion received a loud ovation when he was introduced with the starting lineup.
It looked as if the center had scored during a delayed penalty in the third, but the goal was waved off when the officials ruled Minnesota had controlled the puck before Toews put it in.
Toews, who turns 35 on April 29, is eligible for free agency after this season, and he isn’t sure of his plans after missing much of this year because of health issues.
"I don’t really have an answer right now," he said. "I’m just trying to enjoy the last few days of the season here with this group and not thinking that far ahead."
Stalock and Wild forward Mason Shaw were nominated for the Bill Masterton Trophy, which is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and presented to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
The Blackhawks assigned forward Lukas Reichel and defenseman Alex Vlasic to Rockford to help the IceHogs’ push for an AHL playoff spot. Robinson was recalled from Rockford.
Wild: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night.
Blackhawks: At the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.