For years, the Chicago Blackhawks have been the litmus test for the Minnesota Wild. With several playoff exits at the hands of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, Wild fans have PTSD when they see Chicago on the schedule.
But on Friday night, the Wild flipped the script. A fast start and a pair of goals by Ryan Hartman helped Minnesota hammer the Blackhawks and pick up a 5-1 victory on the front end of a back-to-back.
The night didn't look promising when Marcus Foligno was called for tripping 22 seconds into the game. But after the Wild killed the penalty, Foligno made up for it with his 15th goal of the season to put Minnesota on the board.
With the Wild ahead, Kirill Kaprizov introduced himself to the Blackhawks, making a behind-the-back pass to feed Ryan Hartman for his 17th goal of the season.
With the Blackhawks reeling, they resorted to fisticuffs to try and reclaim the momentum. After Connor Dewar and Brandon Duhaime dropped the gloves on the same faceoff, it was time for Hartman to find the back of the net again.
Hartman's availability was in question after missing practice with a non-COVID illness earlier this week. But Chicago's 2013 first-round pick made the trip and scored his second goal of the game later in the first period to put Minnesota ahead 3-0.
While Hartman was making his impact on the scoresheet, Calen Addison made his with a multi-point game. After assisting on Foligno's goal, Addison got one of his own with a slapshot on the far circle to chase Marc-Andre Fleury.
With Minnesota in control, Kevin Fiala threaded the needle to feed Duhaime for his fourth goal of the season and a 5-0 lead.
Kane added a goal with five minutes left in the third period but it was an uneventful night for Kaapo Kähkönen, who made 35 saves to come away with the victory.
The Wild (22-10-3) won't have too much time to celebrate the win as they'll host the Blackhawks on Saturday.