When it comes to defensemen, seven has been anything but a lucky number for the Blackhawks.
Both times coach Joel Quenneville has dressed an extra man on the back end, his team has lost.
The first setback came against New Jersey on Nov. 12 when the Hawks blew a 4-1 lead. The other came Wednesday as the Hawks fell 2-1 to Minnesota despite a whopping 81 shot attempts (35 on goal).
"I don't know if it's the greatest thing for us," Quenneville said.
The reason dressing seven D-men is such a headache is because of uneven ice time for the blue liners and possibly overtaxing a double-shifting forward. In this case, that was Patrick Kane, who played almost 27 minutes.
"It's not necessarily the best way to play," said Kane, whose tripping penalty wiped out a power-play chance and helped lead to Ryan Suter's game-winning goal with 16:57 remaining. "If he keeps calling me or asking me if I'm OK to go out there, you're obviously going to take advantage of that and go out there and play as much as possible. …
"Would have been nice to create some more tonight, but they did a good job defensively."
Quenneville said he dressed 11 forwards because he feels all of his D-men deserve to be playing.
The Hawks took a 1-0 lead when Brent Seabrook tapped in a rebound of a Michal Kempny shot with 7:36 left in the first period. Seabrook, who hadn't scored since the season opener, had to sweat out a Minnesota challenge before finding out the goal stood.
Considering the Hawks had 41 shot attempts (14 on goal) in the first period, they probably should have been ahead by 2 or 3 goals after 20 minutes. Minnesota, though, weathered the storm by blocking 21 shots.
"Bruce came in right away and let us know that wasn't going to do it," said Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk of coach Bruce Boudreau. "And if that's how we wanted to play, it was going to be a long second half of the year. So it was kind of … enough was enough with these road games."
The Wild (23-17-4, 9-13-1 on the road) tied the game at 1-1 when Jonas Brodin beat Anton Forsberg midway through the second period for his fourth goal of the season.
Suter scored 21 seconds after Kane's tripping penalty.
The Hawks had their chances down the stretch, but Ryan Hartman missed the net from 20 feet away with 14:15 remaining, Jared Spurgeon laid out to break up a 2-on-1 in which Alex DeBrincat was trying to feed David Kampf, and the Hawks also failed on a late power-play opportunity.
"When you get a (chance) late in the third like that you hope for some high-quality looks," said Nick Schmaltz. "They did a good job of taking away the middle of the ice and the seams. Maybe we can simplify a little bit, stop looking for the cute plays, throw a few pucks on net and bang in some rebounds."
The Hawks, who play first-place Winnipeg on Friday, fell to 21-16-6 overall and 11-7-2 at home.