Kimmo Timonen will play more minutes for Blackhawks if needed


Kimmo Timonen will play more minutes for Blackhawks if needed

Kimmo Timonen talked about how he felt through the Blackhawks’ final few games against the Minnesota Wild.

His minutes fluctuated during the second-round series, the defenseman playing anywhere from six to 11 minutes. If the lower tally was frustrating, Timonen wasn’t showing it.

“When it comes to the ice time it’s out of my hands. If that’s the role they want me to be in, I do it,” Timonen said. “I always have to remind myself, ‘If I get six minutes, 12 minutes, that’s more than I was supposed to get anyway. That’s more than I hoped.’”

The positive attitude is not surprising from Timonen. We all know what he overcame to be here, hence his happiness to play whatever minutes he gets with the Blackhawks. And if he’s called upon to do more in the wake of Michal Rozsival’s absence, that’s fine, too.

“I’m ready,” Timonen said. “I’m ready.”

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Whether that happens or not remains to be seen.

“We’ll see,” coach Joel Quenneville said when asked about leaning on Timonen more. “You know, the play, the score, (David Rundblad's) play and how the other guys are managing their minutes. But it’ll all sort itself out.”

Quenneville said Timonen has handled everything, especially the lower-minute outings, well.

“I think he’s played situations where the minutes, as the game goes on, probably go down a little bit,” Quenneville said. “I’m sure he wants to be out there. It’s all part of being a pro. I think as a defenseman, the more you play the better you feel you’re contributing. It’s probably not easy, but at the same time he’s been fine.”

Timonen said his health is great — “I haven’t felt this good in a long time.” If he’s asked to contribute more, that’s fine with him. He pushed himself to come back for one last chance at a Stanley Cup. He’s willing to do what it takes to get it.

“This is the reason why I came here, to get a chance to win and (we’re) moving forward the right way,” he said. “I’m just happy about it but still a long ways to go. It’s going to get even tougher now.”

Blackhawks can't match Oilers' intensity as Connor McDavid leads way in Game 2

Blackhawks can't match Oilers' intensity as Connor McDavid leads way in Game 2

Let's be honest: The Blackhawks dominated the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1. The final score was 6-4, but there was never a doubt as to which team was in the driver’s seat from start to finish.

So going into Game 2, the Blackhawks knew the Oilers would come out desperate.

"We’d be naïve," head coach Jeremy Colliton said before the game, "if we don’t think they’re going to throw everything they have at us."

And that's what the Oilers did. To be more exact: That's what Connor McDavid did.

After scoring 2:34 into Game 1, the two-time Art Ross Trophy winner scored 19 seconds into Game 2 and then again 3:46 later to give the Oilers a 2-0 lead before the Blackhawks even knew what hit them. He completed the hat trick in the second period, giving him four goals through two games so far.

It was clear from the first shift Game 2 would have a different feeling than Game 1. The Oilers, this time, were in control and they followed No. 97's lead.

"They were much better as a team than they were in Game 1, so give them credit there," Jonathan Toews said following a 6-3 loss on Monday. "And to add to the fact, I don't think we made things as hard on them as we did in the first game. So everything we did in that first game, we've got to step all that team game up a notch.

"McDavid's obviously a focus for me, and when we're not making things hard enough for them offensively, then we get ourselves in spots where we end up taking penalties, and you know what happens on the power play, a guy like McDavid's going to make you play. A couple times early in the game, we give him grade A chances and he's not making any mistakes. You know what we're going to get out of him every game, so we've got to be better on him."

You just knew McDavid wouldn’t let his team fall behind 2-0 in a series that easily, especially as the No. 5 seed in their own building. He certainly looked extra motivated to be a factor at even strength after being shut down in Game 1 — all three of his points came on the power play.

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This was a virtual must-win for the Oilers. Only one team in NHL history has overcome a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-five series: New York Islanders in 1985 after losing Games 1 and 2 in overtime to the Washington Capitals then rallying to win the next three.

"Connor led the way," Oilers forward Tyler Ennis said. "He set the tone for us and gave us a spark. That's exactly what we needed, and everybody followed."

Credit the Blackhawks for clawing back and showing the kind of resiliency that helped them win Game 1. They fell behind 2-0 and tied it up at 3-3 before McDavid's hat trick put the Oilers back in front 4-3.

The game got away from the Blackhawks in the third period, where they were out-chanced 10-1. But that what was bound to happen for a team that was playing catch-up all game.

In the end, the Blackhawks won't sugarcoat their overall performance. It was no secret the Oilers would come out hungry, and the Blackhawks simply didn't match their intensity.

"Ultimately, we didn’t play to the level we need to to beat this team," Colliton said. "We knew going into this series it would be a challenge. ... It’s a 1-1 series, I’m sure no one picked us to sweep them. They won a game, now we have to find a way to be better on Wednesday, and we will."

Former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner kneels with Ryan Reaves during National Anthem

Former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner kneels with Ryan Reaves during National Anthem

On Monday, former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner, currently with the Vegas Golden Knights, knelt during the National Anthem with teammate Ryan Reaves before Vegas' round-robin game against the Dallas Stars.

Stars forwards Tyler Seguin and Jason Dickinson joined Lehner and Reaves in taking a knee.

The Associated Press' Stephen Whyno reported Reaves approached Seguin during pregame warmups to inform him that the Golden Knights teammates intended to kneel during the National Anthem. Seguin told his teammates on Dallas in the locker room and Dickinson wanted to join.

"I made a mistake once, putting a Trump sticker on my mask. That is something I regret now... At the end of the day it's about human rights, not politics," Lehner told the media following the game.

The Golden Knights won the contest 5-3 with Lehner as the starting goalie.

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