Blackhawks

Teravainen nets winner as Blackhawks edge Wild in Game 1

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Teravainen nets winner as Blackhawks edge Wild in Game 1

The Blackhawks know what it’s like to overcome a big deficit and win a playoff game.

They did it twice against the Nashville Predators, erasing two- and three-goal deficits en route to victories. On Friday night, they almost got a taste of their own medicine.

Almost.

The Blackhawks blew a 3-0 lead but Teuvo Teravainen’s late second-period goal, his first career postseason score, proved the winner in the Blackhawks’ 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild. The Blackhawks take the early lead in this second-round series, which continues at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Corey Crawford stopped 30 of 33 shots for the victory. Marcus Kruger scored his first of the postseason and Duncan Keith had two assists. Devan Dubnyk stopped 31 of 35 shots in the loss. Zach Parise had a goal and an assist and Thomas Vanek had two assists for the Wild.

[MORE: Blackhawks agree to terms with Artemi Panarin]

There was more a sense of relief than anything for the Blackhawks, who had a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period but watched the Wild tie them up in about nine minutes in the second period.

“Yeah it’s frustrating,” Patrick Sharp said. “They came out in the second period, I don’t know if it was a combination of us taking our foot off the gas and them pushing forward that much harder, but it was nice to see us use the crowd to our advantage at the start. I wish we could put our finger on it. Hopefully we can play more of a 60-minute game.”

The Blackhawks had a great opening 20 minutes, when the Wild were making the mistakes. Brandon Saad scored just 1:15 into the game and Patrick Kane and Kruger later added goals. The Wild reversed things in the second, and took advantage of Blackhawks mistakes, en route to tying the game just 9:30 into the period. Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund, along with Parise, scored during the comeback.

“They had a pretty good second period and we were sitting back way too much and letting them do pretty much whatever they wanted to in the first 10 minutes,” Niklas Hjalmarsson said. “That’s not how you can play in the playoffs when you’re up three goals. They’re going to take advantage of it.”

Coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks should’ve known the Wild would push back.

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“No lead is safe this year,” he said. “Certainly we have to be better in that period. They’re a dangerous team, so expect every shift to be important.”

Then came Teravainen’s late-period goal. The Finnish forward, who was back into the lineup after being scratched the final four first-round games against Nashville, fired from near the boards and his shot escaped Dubnyk’s glove.

“I think that wasn't the biggest shot,” Teravainen said. “But sometimes good things happen when I shoot.”

The Blackhawks didn’t get the 60-minute effort they wanted on Friday night. They know any team can come back from any deficit at this time of year; they already did it twice this postseason. The Wild almost turned the tables on them. Almost.

“To tell you the truth, we don’t like to do that,” Marian Hossa said of the Blackhawks’ ability to come back late. “If we do it, it shows we have a lot of strong players with a lot of experience. We never quit. But it doesn’t happen all the time. We’re lucky we got this one but we have to be better in the second.”

 

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

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AP

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.

Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.

Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:

After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident:

Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak

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USA TODAY

Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak

Win one game.

That was Joel Quenneville’s message during the Blackhawks’ eight-game losing streak, which finally came to an end on Saturday night.

How about a 7-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on home ice for a streak-breaker? Now that’s more like it.

Prior to Saturday, the Blackhawks hadn’t recorded a win in February — or a win at the United Center since Jan. 12. 

Though the Blackhawks will likely miss the playoffs for the first time since Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were rookies, a blowout win over the leaders of the Metropolitan Division Capitals had to have felt great.

"It’s a nice way to get over the hump," Toews said. "Sometimes you might just win a 2-1 game or just kind of grind it out, but it was nice for us to fill the net the way we did tonight."

Added Joel Quenneville, "Certainly feels 100 times better than coming in and trying to explain how we had a lead and were unable to sustain it. The complete 60 minutes, three periods the right way, more consistency in our game, way more pace than we’ve seen recently, composure with the puck, shooting around the net. It was fun but that’s one. Let’s see how we respond to this because there’s a lot of hockey left."

The Blackhawks are 25-26-8 with 58 points, and are 11 points out the final wild card spot, currently held by the Minnesota Wild.

Among the highlights:

— Seven different Blackhawks scored: Toews, Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Saad, Artem Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman

— The Blackhawks are 74-6-4 in the regular season in which Kane and Toews both record a goal — and 41-0-0 in their last 41 games, according to NBC Sports Chicago stats guru Chris Kamka.

— Kane registered career assist No. 500, becoming the sixth Blackhawk with 500 or more. Kane is also the seventh U.S.-born player with 300-plus goals and 500-plus assists, joining Mike Modano, Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Pat LaFontaine, Joe Mullen and Phil Housley, according to Kamka.

"You think about the amount of great Americans that have played the game, how many players actually play hockey in the United States... Growing up all I wanted to do was play hockey," Kane said. "That means a lot, especially when you talk about American-born players."

— DeBrincat's 22nd goal of the season has him tied for the rookie-lead with Tampa Bay Lightning's Yanni Gourde. DeBrincat and Kane also lead the Blackhawks with 22 goals.