7 takeaways from the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild: ‘We fell back into bad habits’

Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Better late than never.

The Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild knew they would have a later-than-usual puck drop — 8:52 p.m. Central time — with the game airing on TNT as part of a doubleheader with the New York Rangers-Tampa Bay Lightning matchup.

But who knew the Hawks offense, which has been a no-show lately, also would be fashionably late.

Jacob Lucchini scored the opening goal to give the Wild a 1-0 lead during a first period in which they outshot the Hawks 11-1, and Nick Foligno knotted the score in the second period.

Indicative of the Hawks’ scoring struggles since Connor Bedard was knocked out of commission with a broken jaw, it was one-and-done for the Hawks despite several Grade-A chances.

Marcus Foligno, Nick’s brother, tipped in the game-winner in the third period.

“We were just on our heels the second half of the first period, for sure,” Hawks coach Luke Richardson said. “But I liked our response in the second, had a really good second and pretty much most of the third.

“We had the one bad shift, but we chopped around, we didn’t get it out, we weren’t clean and then we were surprised in the slot and then they scored in the third. Which hurt because we just missed on a breakaway and then we put ourselves in that same position where we have to try and press at the end.”

Nick Foligno said he “actually really liked our start.”

“And then they score and it’s like we fell back into bad habits … instead of just pushing back,” he said.

Added Tyler Johnson: “I think everyone’s a little bit rusty (after the All-Star break). … We got a little bit more urgency, a little bit more fight in the end, but we didn’t play a full 60 (minutes).”

Here are seven takeaways from the loss.

1. Some offense is better than none.

When the Wild zipped out to an 11-1 edge in shots on goal in the first period, the signs weren’t encouraging. The Hawks were lucky to go into the first break down only 1-0.

Jarred Tinordi and Marcus Foligno juiced up the building with a prolonged fight — but not quite the charge it would’ve been to see Marcus and older brother Nick go at it.

Nick would have his hands full later.

Taylor Raddysh fed Philipp Kurashev on a rush, and Kurashev sent a cross-crease pass behind Zach Bogosian to Foligno. It was a simple tip-in from there for Nick’s eighth goal in 24 regular-season matchups against Marcus.

The Hawks at least avoided their fifth shutout in seven games.

2. Winter Classic at Wrigley is set.

The NHL made it official: Wrigley Field will host the 2025 Winter Classic between the Hawks and St. Louis Blues, the second time the ballpark has hosted.

The league did not announce a game time or date, although all 17 previous Winter Classics were played on New Year’s Day or Jan. 2 when New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday. TNT will broadcast the game.

The Hawks will have a presale for season ticket holders, and season tickets for 2024-25 go on sale later this month.

It will be the third outdoor game in Chicago and the seventh for the Hawks.

  • 2009 Winter Classic: Jan 1, Wrigley Field, 40,818 in attendance, 32 degrees, 6-4 loss to Detroit Red Wings

  • 2014 Stadium Series: March 1, Soldier Field, 62,921, 17 degrees (fifth-coldest), 5-1 win vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

  • 2015 Winter Classic: Jan. 1, Nationals Park in Washington, 42,832, 43 degrees, 3-2 loss to Washington Capitals

  • 2016 Stadium Series: Feb. 21, TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, 50,426, 35 degrees, 6-1 loss to Minnesota Wild

  • 2017 Winter Classic: Jan 2, Busch Stadium in St. Louis, 46,556, 46 degrees, 4-1 loss to Blues

  • 2019 Winter Classic: Jan. 1, Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind., 76,126, 36 degrees, 4-2 win vs. Boston Bruins

3. The Hawks are talking ‘dirty’ again.

Johnson talked up the importance of net-front presence to scoring. Those “grimy goals” are no picnic — players take a lot of punishment down low that often goes unrewarded.

The Hawks haven’t been known for that style in recent years, but Foligno believes playing in the “dirty areas” is essential to their identity.

“It’s going to the net, and we have to get people there and you get those dirty ones,” he said. “And all of a sudden now the game starts to open up a little bit, too, where teams are now packing it in because they realize you’re putting pucks there. And maybe now you have a little bit more space to play on the outside, and then maybe the prettier goals come because of that.”

4. The Jarred Tinordi-Marcus Foligno fight got Nick Foligno’s approval.

Tinordi and Marcus scrapped in the second period for about 45 seconds, but it felt longer.

“I mean, it’s just two big boys fighting,” Nick said. “Tinner’s a tough SOB, man. So is Marcus obviously. Those are two heavyweights in our league now, and it’s entertaining for the fans.

“I’ve seen Marcus do it a ton and we’ve seen Tinner do it a ton for our group. It definitely juiced up the guys on both sides of the ice.”

To be clear, Nick was rooting for Tinordi: “Tinner, man, he threw some bombs tonight.”

Nick and Marcus had their share of battles growing up.

“I was the one getting all the punches in, though,” Nick said. “Then there got to a point where he was a lot bigger and the punches hurt a little bit more, so we stopped.”

5. Bragging rights go to little brother.

Nick scored in the second period, but Marcus put the Wild ahead 2-1 midway through the third. It was Marcus’ third goal in 24 regular-season matchups with Nick and the first time both brothers had a goal.

“Game-winner? It sucks,” Nick said. “I heard he’s got the record right now against me, too, so we’ll have to fix that.”

The Foligno brothers had a chance to chirp each other during the All-Star break, like two boxers squaring off before a match.

“It was good to see Marcus actually,” Nick said before the game. “My kids were really excited. He came to their hockey practice last night and I actually got out of tying skates. It was kind of nice, they wanted Uncle Moose to tie (their) skates.

“They looked a little wobbly, though. I’ve got to work on his strength.”

6. Tyler Johnson had a choppy return.

In his first game back after missing 14 games with a foot injury, Johnson slotted in with Lukas Reichel and MacKenzie Entwistle. He didn’t have a shot on goal, and his line was on the ice for both Minnesota goals.

“Pretty rusty,” Johnson said. “I felt like I started to get better as the game went on, being able to think a little bit and have the hands and everything, but definitely need to pick it up.”

Richardson called Johnson “a competitor and probably critical of himself … that’s the kind of player he is.”

“I was fine with his game,” Richardson said. “He created some chances six-on-five, and even on the second power play I thought he was pretty good down low around the net. Just like the rest of us, it wasn’t working.”

7. Be careful about body language.

Boris Katchouk was stopped by Wild goalie Filip Gustavsson on a breakaway, then slammed his stick against the glass.

Colin Blackwell reared back his head in frustration after a short-range shot off a great pass by Ryan Donato was blocked.

“Guys care,” Foligno said. “And, yeah, in the perfect world you’d like us to swallow our (frustration) … but right now we’re just trying to build.

“There’s going to be those moments. Nobody’s perfect. I’ve slammed doors. The only thing is you don’t want it to happen too often where the teams know you’re off your game. … As long as it doesn’t bleed into where a team sees that and knows they have you. Now you’re giving the momentum back to the team.“

Richardson said he doesn’t mind players showing passion, and Katchouk’s frustration is justified. He has missed several breakaways this season.

“When he missed a breakaway earlier, a couple of weeks ago … he came back around and scored on the second chance,” Richardson said. On Wednesday, “he actually went in, forechecked and got Entsy (MacKenzie Entwistle) the puck after his miss tonight, but then coming back down the ice, you have to keep playing.

“(Katchouk) kind of stopped playing and changed, and they had a little bit of a line rush going. I don’t mind the passion and banging the stick every once in a while, but you have to stay focused with it in the game.”