Finally: Blackhawks-Wild starts tonight


Finally: Blackhawks-Wild starts tonight

The Blackhawks have had several days’ worth of practice and plenty of time to heal any bumps and bruises accumulated in the first round.

Enough talk: let’s get this second-round series going.

[MORE: Konroyd's keys to a Blackhawks' victory in Game 1]

The wait is over for the Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild, who meet in Game 1 at 8:45 p.m. tonight at the United Center. It’s been a lengthy wait for both teams; the Blackhawks eliminated the Nashville Predators on Saturday and the Wild did the same to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday afternoon.

So you can imagine everyone’s really ready to get going again.

“For sure, the guys are excited,” Andrew Shaw said. “Two days in practice, two days off just amp up the guys to get ready for this one. We expect a good team coming in here.”

The Wild play a steady game that begs an opponent to be patient. It can be frustrating to bide your time but that’s what the Blackhawks are going to have to do to be successful.

“Trying to make plays, sometimes, you’re giving up the juicier opportunity the other way,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Trying to manufacture plays that aren’t there leads to trouble. But knowing when they do have the puck there are a lot of options, and that’s one of the strengths of our team as well.”

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The Wild come into this series, the third consecutive postseason one against the Blackhawks, brimming with confidence. They’ve overcome a lot to get to this point. But coach Mike Yeo said the Wild, who have yet to win a postseason game at the United Center, still have much to prove against the Blackhawks.

“There are a lot of reasons for optimism, a lot of reasons to feel confident. But we also know what we’re up against,” Yeo said. “The last several months we’ve been at it pretty good and we’ve had to be at our best but the bottom line is, until we prove something’s different, then nothing’s changed. We have to change something here along the way.”

Robin Lehner got best of 'reverse psychology' with Blackhawks familiarity in Game 1

Robin Lehner got best of 'reverse psychology' with Blackhawks familiarity in Game 1

On Tuesday, former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner and the Vegas Golden Knights got the better of the Hawks in Game 1 of their Round One Stanley Cup Playoff series, winning 4-1.

Lehner saved 19 of 20 shots from Chicago, but his own equipment made him more uncomfortable in net than his former team.

The 29-year-old goalie had to have a skate blade repaired twice in the second period.

"I was pretty frustrated. It's the first time that's ever happened to me," Lehner said following the game. ... "You kind of get into it and I didn't really know what happened there at first, but you have to battle through it. The rule is when we have possession they can blow it. Kind of tough for a goalie with one skate."

The Blackhawks hit a post the first time Lehner had blade trouble, but otherwise didn't capitalize on his skate malfunction.

Chicago got away from what worked in the Oilers series against goalies Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen in creating traffic in front of the net to take away the goalie's eyes and trying for deflections. Vegas' D did a good job of pushing the Hawks to the outside and away from the crease.

According to Lehner, when the Blackahwks did have chances, knowing their tendencies from playing with them earlier in the year — before he was traded to Vegas ahead of the Feb. 24 trade deadline — played to his advantage in Game 1.

"I think I'm foremost a reading goalie. I know a lot of their tendencies, I know what they're trying to do on the power play and etc.," The 2019 Vezina Trophy finalist said. "But it becomes a little bit of reverse psychology. I knew that they know (that) and they were going to mix it up a little bit on me. On all the really in-tight chances today they tried to go five-hole, so I kind of anticipated that before the game and next game they're probably going to try something else."

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Podcast: Blackhawks drop Game 1 to the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1

Podcast: Blackhawks drop Game 1 to the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1

The Blackhawks lose Game 1 to the favorite Vegas Golden Knights and former Hawk Robin Lehner gets credited with the win. Host Pat Boyle is joined by NBCS Blackhawks analyst and 2013 Stanley Cup champ with the Hawks Jamal Mayers to break down Game 1 and talk how the Hawks can come back for Game 2 to tie the series.

(1:00) - Corey Crawford let in a few soft goals

(6:20) - What went wrong and what went right for the Hawks?

(10:32) - How do the Hawks get more offense?

(14:30) - How should the Hawks prepare for Game 2?

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.