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.
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.