ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Chicago Blackhawks saw a chance to seize momentum, and they didn't pass it up.
Michael Nylander had a goal and an assist, and Jocelyn Thibault finished with 24 saves as the Blackhawks beat the Minnesota Wild 3-2 Sunday night to snap a five-game losing streak.
Clinging to a 2-1 lead in the second period, the Blackhawks got some spectacular saves from Thibault to stop a Minnesota power play. Then Chicago gave itself some breathing room when Nylander scored his first goal of the year to make it 3-1.
"That's the way this game is supposed to be played," Chicago coach Alpo Suhonen said. "One team has the momentum and if they don't use it, the other team gets a chance to use it. There's always a critical moment in the game when stuff like that is happening. That was an exact example of it."
The victory was the third of the season for the Blackhawks, who have a combined 3-0 record against the expansion Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets, but an 0-7-0-1 record against non-expansion teams.
"We were getting to the point where we were starting to doubt ourselves, and that's a bad position to be in this early in the year," Chicago forward Kris King said. "We played a 60-minute game and got a really big win, which is something this team really needed."
King scored his first goal of the season at the 4:24 mark of the first period.
Minnesota's Marian Gaborik countered six minutes later when he beat Thibault with a wrist shot. It was the fifth goal of the season for the rookie forward.
The Blackhawks took a 2-1 lead at 12:36 of the first when Steve Sullivan flipped a shot from behind the net that bounced off Minnesota goalie Manny Fernandez and into the net for a power-play goal.
"Their top players came out and scored first," Wild forward Darby Hendrickson said. "That was a big boost for their whole team. We knew that they haven't been playing their best game, and we knew that we had an opportunity to capitalize. But we weren't able to do it."
Minnesota outshot the Blackhawks 7-0 in the third and got the only goal of the period from Scott Pellerin with 10 minutes remaining to pull within one. But the Blackhawks killed a late Minnesota power play to preserve the win.
"Offensively we had some chances, but we missed the net a little bit," Pellerin said. "We weren't as hungry around the net to make it a tougher night for their goalie."
Notes: The Blackhawks last played a regular-season contest in Minnesota on April 13, 1993, winning 3-2 in the final home game played by the Minnesota North Stars. ... The Blackhawks have been outscored by a 14-5 margin in the opening period of their 10 games. ... Sunday was a homecoming of sorts for three members of the Blackhawks organization. Chicago assistant general manager Nick Beverly, assistant coach Al McAdam and center Mark Janssens are all former Minnesota North Stars. ... Blackhawks defenseman Alexander Karpovtsev was lost to injury barely one minute into the game when he was hit in the leg by a slap shot by Minnesota's Maxim Susinsky. Trainers reported that Karpovtsev suffered a bruised right ankle.
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