Minnesota snapped Chicago’s six-game winning streak on Tuesday by scoring four unanswered goals in the third period. The Blackhawks still have a 2-1 edge in the second round series, but the Wild’s commanding win has given the team new life.
Still, Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane saw a silver lining in the defeat.
“Winning six games in a row, maybe we were a little overconfident in ourselves and Minnesota did a good job of making it a series last night,” Kane told CSN Chicago. “If anything, it’s a wake up call for us.”
Defenseman Johnny Oduya added that the loss has created a sense of urgency for the Blackhawks.
“We saw it in last series where I think for a lot of parts, they out-battled Colorado a lot,” Oduya said. “Yeah, we have to play better, that’s just the bottom line.”
Chicago beat Minnesota in five contests last year, but going into this series Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville emphasized that this isn’t the same Wild team.
That wasn’t always apparent in the first two contests, but the Wild have an opportunity to build off of their strong third period in Tuesday’s victory. Game 4 will take place on Friday and might mark the return of Minnesota forward Matt Cooke, who has completed his suspension.
Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.
Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.
(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)
Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.
Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.
The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.
Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.
That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.
If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.
The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.