Blackhawks routed by Wild as struggles continue

The Hawks enter the All-Star break on a low note after losing 5-0 at home.

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Minnesota tortured Marc-Andre Fleury with five goals Wednesday.

AP Photos

The Blackhawks’ on-ice performance Wednesday was only slightly better than their chairman’s off-ice debacle hours earlier.

The Hawks enter the All-Star break having lost seven of their last eight games after falling to the Wild for the third time in a two-week span, this time in a 5-0 rout.

“[The] biggest concern for me is, when we get back from this break, we have to get to work — like real work,” interim coach Derek King said. “And that’s on me. Maybe I’ve been a little too positive, a little too soft with these guys. But I have to figure that out.”

After a relatively even, spirited first period that ended without a goal, the Hawks slipped back into Monday’s sleepiness in the second period, and the Wild took advantage.

After Frederick Gaudreau ripped a rocket of a shot on the power play to break the ice, Mats Zuccarello took over, scoring once and later setting up Kirill Kaprizov on a pretty transition play to bury the Hawks with a 3-0 second-intermission deficit.

Minnesota tacked on two more goals in the third period once most of the announced crowd of 16,373 had gone home, even chasing Marc-Andre Fleury eight minutes early after he’d saved 25 of 30 shots.

“We turned over the puck and it ended up in the back of our net a couple of times,” Alex DeBrincat said. “Once they got up 2-0, [we] got deflated on the bench. So we’ve got to be more mentally tough and not give them those chances.”

“I don’t know what it is with our second periods,” King added. “We stopped playing the way we were in the first, and [Minnesota is] a good hockey team. It’s the same story, right? When we’re struggling or fighting it, it’s the same conversations we have.”

The Hawks thus enter the break 16-23-7, marking their fewest points (39) through 46 games in a season since 2005-06.

“We should be the most desperate team possible right now,” Seth Jones said. “No matter how many minutes you play, it should be desperation to the max. Because as the weeks go on here, you can do the math yourself. It’s not looking good as we go.”

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