Photos from the game on Feb. 21, 2017, in Minneapolis.
The Blackhawks were concerned that their extended bye week might sap the positive energy generated on their six-game road trip.
But the break hasn’t slowed the Hawks, who have won seven of their last eight games — all on the road.
Those seven wins tied a franchise record for consecutive road victories, a record the Hawks will have a chance to break on March 4 against the Predators.
"It’s a tough league and we had some tough road games in tough buildings," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We like how things are trending, our four-line game and the balance in our team. That’s a great illustration when the consistency shows up, what we’re capable of."
From goals to assists to wins to games played, Blackhawks players have achieved a multitude of career milestones during the 2016-17 season.
Most importantly for the Hawks, two of those victories came at Xcel Energy Center against the Wild, who had won eight previous regular-season games against the Hawks. Those two Hawks victories helped them keep pace in the Central Division standings. They are now five points behind the Wild, who have one game in hand.
"We always look at that team, especially with the way they’re playing, as a measuring stick right now," captain Jonathan Toews said. "We know we’ve had some good games against them. We still kind of think back to last year, how our effort wasn’t quite there (against them). So our respect level for what they can do is at an all-time high, and I think we’re ready for them and we know it’s going to take a heck of an effort to beat them."
Praise for Schmaltz: Defenseman Brian Campbell said last week one of the biggest differences in the Hawks play this month has been forward Nick Schmaltz, who has been an improved player since rejoining the team from Rockford in January. One of the issues Schmaltz had during his first stint with the Hawks was his propensity to give up the puck quickly. But that has changed over the last few weeks.
Schmaltz has been unafraid to try and make plays with the puck, and that was on display Tuesday when he scored and tallied two assists.
"He has been really good," Quenneville said. "I haven’t seen him have the puck as much as he had, and tonight was the most we’ve ever seen him with the puck. I don’t know how many times he evaded coverage, all of a sudden he loses the guy on him and a play develops."