The Stanley Cup Playoffs were a long shot for both the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild entering Tuesday. Matt Dumba helped Minnesota’s cause with the overtime winner as the Wild gained a critical two points.
Kevin Fiala scored twice as the Wild picked up their fourth win in six games. Alex Stalock added 27 saves.
Olli Maatta’s third-period equalizer allowed Chicago to earn one point in the tough overtime loss. Adam Boqvist also scored and Corey Crawford made 31 saves as the Blackhawks lost for only the second time in the previous eight games. Patrick Kane’s 12-game point streak was snapped
Can Dumba get going?
The Wild were hoping Dumba was ready to take a quantum leap and become one of the more dynamic defensemen throughout the league when they entered the season.
Dumba needed surgery in December of 2018 to repair a ruptured right pectoralis which caused him to miss the remainder of last season. Despite starting the season on the active roster, the road to a full recovery has been slower than expected.
The 25-year-old converted a slick forehand-backhand-forehand deke as he scored his fourth of the season to propel Minnesota in overtime.
Dumba’s value will be an interesting topic as the deadline approaches for Bill Guerin and his staff. He has three years remaining on his contract after this season that carries a $6M AAV. Can he return to being a power-play quarterback that regularly tops 40 points in a season? Or has he become an overpaid defenseman that has a reputation for missing time due to injury?
Only time will tell…
While the three-point deficit for a spot in the postseason doesn’t seem like a lot the Blackhawks squandered an opportunity.
Leapfrogging teams in the standings has become increasingly difficult with three-point games more prevalent in the NHL. The Blackhawks not only have to jump the Nashville Predators but also have the Winnipeg Jets and Wild ready to surpass them at a moment’s notice.
With only nine games remaining before the NHL trade deadline, Chicago’s front office will have to decide on its buying or selling strategy in the near future.
Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.