Denis Savard must have had a sense of déjà vu as he watched Pierre-Marc Bouchard score the game-winning goal for the Minnesota Wild in the sixth round of the shootout Tuesday night.
Bouchard executed a spin-o-rama, a move Savard made famous, to beat Nikolai Khabibulin and give the Wild a 3-2 victory and hand Savard his first loss in four games as Hawks coach.
The loss spoiled somewhat the news earlier in the day that the Hawks had extended Savard's contract through next season.
"How ironic is that? Right back in my face," Savard said of Bouchard's play. "It was a great move."
It was also a move that caused controversy. Some Hawks, including general manager Dale Tallon, questioned whether a player can turn his back to a goalie or skate backward in a shootout. In any event, all agreed it was a pretty special way to end a game.
"He surprised me a little," Khabibulin said. "I haven't seen that move too often."
Despite the loss, the Hawks picked up a point, and the ability to push games into overtime and collect at least a point can make a big difference in the playoff hunt.
"Points are tough to get in this league," Savard said. "We had chances to win the game."
Twice the Hawks had leads, on goals by Brandon Bochenski and Bryan Smolinski, but the Wild erased them. The Hawks had a chance late in the game with a power play but once again came up short. The Hawks are one for their last 38 with the man advantage.
When Savard was hired to replace Trent Yawney, Tallon said he would wait until the end of the season before deciding on next year. But the three straight victories that started Savard's tenure helped convince Tallon to extend the contract.
"I wanted him to have some security with the players," Tallon said. "[The start] is beyond my expectations, but I'm not surprised at the effort or [Savard's] knowledge."
Savard said: "It's very nice and very much appreciated. I thank [the Hawks] for the confidence."
Smolinski and Jeff Hamilton scored for the Hawks in the shootout. Just because Brent Seabrook had his first two NHL fights Saturday in Nashville, don't expect the second-year defenseman to turn into Dave Manson. Seabrook seemed almost embarrassed by his bouts with Jordin Tootoo and Dan Hamhuis. The Tootoo fight came after the two were battling in the corner and Tootoo dropped his gloves. In the case of Hamhuis, Seabrook came to the defense of Tuomo Ruutu. Hamhuis took a run at Ruutu, and when Ruutu tried to avoid the hit, the two hits knees, a potentially dangerous play. Seabrook said he knew Hamhuis wasn't trying to hurt Ruutu but felt he had to stand by a teammate. ... Denis Arkhipov assisted on Smolinski's goal, which came short-handed.
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