ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Wild were tripped up by a non-playoff team in a loss one game earlier, and they barely avoided an encore performance.
Despite almost 20 wins and nearly 40 points separating them in the standings, the Wild outlasted the Blackhawks, 3-1, on Saturday in front of 19,312 at Xcel Energy Center on a pair of late goals to improve to 14-1-4 over their past 19 games.
The Wild’s 32 points in that stretch lead the NHL.
Ryan Hartman snapped a 1-1 tie with 1 minute, 11 seconds remaining in the third period, scooping up a Chicago turnover to skate in for a breakaway that he buried for his 13th goal of the season.
In their previous game on Thursday, the Wild were downed 5-4 in a shootout by Philadelphia, which is third-to-last in the Eastern Conference.
Goaltender Filip Gustavsson stopped 22 shots.
Earlier in the week, Gustavsson made a career-high 47 saves in a 2-1 overtime win for the Wild at New Jersey. Over his last 12 games, the netminder is 7-1-4 with two shutouts. This was the 23rd time in 32 starts he’s surrendered two goals or less.
At the other end, former Wild goalie Alex Stalock also picked up 22 saves in the Blackhawks’ fourth straight loss.
Most of Gustavsson’s work came in the second period, when he turned aside 11 shots, which is how many pucks on net both teams combined for in a sluggish first period.
Ryan Reaves interrupted that vibe 7 minutes, 45 seconds into the second when he pried the puck off Wyatt Kaiser, who was skating in his third NHL game, motored around the Chicago net before flinging a backhand to the middle that pinballed around the crease before bouncing up and into the net.
This was Reaves’ fourth goal in his last seven games to go along with two assists in that span. Only Matt Boldy (eight goals) has scored more on the Wild in the eight games the team has played without the injured Kirill Kaprizov.
Considering the lack of consistent pressure being applied by the Blackhawks — they didn’t hit double digits in shots until late in the second — it looked like Reaves’ tally might hold up as the decisive one.
But just 1:15 into the third, Chicago finally capitalized when Lukas Reichel wired in a 2-on-1 shot to spoil Gustavsson’s shutout bid.
After Hartman served up the tiebreaker late in the third, Frederick Gaudreau dumped the puck into an empty net at 19:27.
Neither power play converted, with the Blackhawks going 0 for 2 and the Wild finishing 0 for 1.
That prolonged the Wild’s skid to 1 for 13 despite the team making a tweak to their power play, inserting Calen Addison into the lineup after he was a healthy scratch the past three games. Addison was a key catalyst for the power play earlier in the season before getting replaced by John Klingberg after Klingberg was added before the trade deadline; Klingberg missed a second straight game with an upper-body injury.
Boldy, who came into play with six goals in his last three games, had his season-long seven-game point streak end. The winger still has 14 points, including nine goals, over his past 11 appearances.
The Wild are now 14-1-9 in games that are tied with five minutes left in regulation.