Blackhawks

Five Things from Game 1: Blackhawks must play 60 minutes

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Five Things from Game 1: Blackhawks must play 60 minutes

Win some, lose some or escape some: the Blackhawks’ victory on Friday night would probably fit best in that last category.

What started as a strong, multi-goal lead for the Blackhawks soon turned into a tie game, and the Minnesota Wild were giving them everything they could handle. Thanks to a young Finn and a better third period, the Blackhawks pulled out a 4-3 victory in Game 1 of this first-round series.

[MORE: Teravainen nets winner as Blackhawks edge Wild in Game 1]

So while Blackhawks fans check their heart rates, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory.

1. Play 60 minutes. The Wild deserve plenty of credit for its second period; it pushed the pace, it took advantage of Blackhawks mistakes and it came back from a 3-0 lead after the first period. But the Blackhawks could’ve prevented some of that damage. Playing a full game has been a challenge this postseason, and it was again on Friday night. Said Patrick Sharp, “we’ll take a 3-0 lead but you always hear people say that’s the worst lead in hockey. Minnesota has the firepower to come back and we have to be better than that.”

2. Good timing for Teravainen. Hey, if you’re going to score your first career NHL playoff goal, make it a winner – literally. Teuvo Teravainen threw what looked to be a rather harmless puck toward the net late in the second period. It wasn’t so harmless, as it got past Devan Dubnyk with 58.2 seconds remaining in the period and gave the Blackhawks the 4-3 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Teravainen was understandably happy. “It's a great feeling of course,” he said. “I just think I had to shoot more. I got the puck there and I just tried to shoot. Sometimes good thingshappen.”

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3. Penalty kill improves. The Blackhawks’ first trip on the kill on Friday wasn’t good, as Zach Parise scored a power-play goal as part of the Wild’s second-period comeback. It got better as the game went on, however, and killed off two third-period penalties to keep the Wild at bay. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “they had some decent looks but I think we did a good job preventing them easy access.”

4. Crawford stays strong. The second period wasn’t the best for the Blackhawks or for Corey Crawford, who gave up three goals on 12 shots – that’s the same goal/shot total that got him chased in the first period of Game 1 vs. Nashville. But Quenneville said he never thought about pulling Crawford in this one – it was a tie game midway through this one, not a 3-0 deficit for the Blackhawks. Crawford was there in the third, stopping all eight shots the Wild had.

5. This series is going to be something. If Game 1 was a glimpse of how this series is going to play out, everyone better buckle up. Big leads, lost leads, good goaltending, shaky goaltending, ups, downs, crossbars hit, goals just missed: this series, much like Game 1, will probably have a little bit of everything.

 

Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning

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AP

Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center on Sunday:

1. Blackhawks on wrong side of history 

Earlier this year the Blackhawks made history by appearing in five straight overtime games to start the season, something no team in NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB history has ever done.

But Sunday they found themselves on the wrong side of it after allowing 33 shots on goal in the second period alone. It tied a franchise high for most given up in a single period — March 4, 1941 vs. Boston — and is the most an NHL team has allowed since 1997-98 when shots by period became an official stat.

"It's pretty rare to be seeing that much work in a period," said Cam Ward, who had a season-high 49 saves. "But oh man, I don't even know what to say to be honest. It's tough. We know that we need to be better especially in our home building, too. And play with some pride and passion. Unfortunately, it seemed like it was lacking at times tonight. The old cliche you lose as a team and overall as a team we weren't good enough tonight."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "That was a tough, tough period in all aspects. I don’t think we touched the puck at all and that was the part that was disturbing, against a good hockey team."

2. Alexandre Fortin is on the board

After thinking he scored his first career NHL goal in Columbus only to realize his shot went off Marcus Kruger's shin-pad, Fortin made up for it one night later and knows there wasn't any question about this one.

The 21-year-old undrafted forward, playing in his his fifth career game, sprung loose for a breakaway early in the first period and received a terrific stretch pass by Jan Rutta from his own goal line to Fortin, who slid it underneath Louis Domingue for his first in the big leagues. It's his second straight game appearing on the scoresheet after recording an assist against the Blue Jackets on Saturday.

"It's fun," Fortin said. "I think it would be a little bit more fun to get your first goal [while getting] two points for your team, but I think we ... just have to [turn the page to the] next chapter and just play and be ready for next game."

3. Brandon Saad's most noticeable game?

There weren't many positives to take away from this game, but Saad was certainly one of them. He had arguably his best game of the season, recording seven shot attempts (three on goal) with two of them hitting the post (one while the Blackhawks were shorthanded).

He was on the ice for 11 shot attempts for and five against at 5-on-5, which was by far the best on his team.

"He started OK and got way better," Quenneville said of Saad. "Had the puck way more, took it to the net a couple of times, shorthanded."

4. Special teams still a work in progress

The Blackhawks entered Sunday with the 29th-ranked power play and 25th-ranked penalty kill, and are still working to get out from the bottom of the league in both departments. In an effort to change up their fortunes with the man advantage, the Blackhawks split up their two units for more balance.

They had four power-play opportunities against Tampa Bay and cashed in on one of them, but it didn't matter as it was too little, too late in the third period — although they did become the first team to score a power-play goal against the Lightning this season (29 chances).

"Whether we're looking for balance or we're just looking for one to get hot, I think our power play has been ordinary so far," Quenneville said before the game. "We need it to be more of a threat."

Four more minor penalties were committed by the Blackhawks, giving them eight in the past two games. That's one way they can shore up the penalty kill, by cutting back on taking them.

Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period

Well, things could be going better for the Blackhawks during Sunday's game against the Lightning.

In the second period Sunday, the Blackhawks surrendered 33 shots on goal, tying a franchise record for most in a single period. The previous instance occurred March 4, 1941 against the Boston Bruins, a game that the Blackhawks lost 3-2.

While the Blackhawks tied a franchise record for shots on goal allowed, they actually set an NHL record at the same time. The NHL did not begin recording shots on goal as an "official" statistic until the 1997-98 season.

Consequentially, Sunday's 33 shots on goal allowed in the second period is the "official" record, even though the Blackhawks accomplished the "feat" nearly 80 years ago. Confusing, huh? 

Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, they also surrendered three goals and scored zero in addition to the plethora of shots on goal allowed. They recorded just six shots on goal in the second period themselves, trailing 4-1 by the time the third period started.