Marian Hossa got the question that so many Blackhawks did following their Game 1 victory over the Minnesota Wild.
Yes, the Blackhawks won, with Teuvo Teravainen’s late-second-period goal providing the difference. But that second period, the one in which the Wild scored three times in less than 10 minutes to erase the Blackhawks’ 3-0 lead, what the heck was that?
“It’s amazing, eh?” Hossa said with a bit of a smile. “The same thing happened in Game 1 in Nashville, just the other way around. It’s hard to explain why: a few little mistakes, they have hot sticks and put it in the net.”
Part of it was a great Wild team pushing to get back into the game. But this isn’t the first time the Blackhawks have given up goals in bunches. Five times already this postseason, the Blackhawks have allowed three goals in a single period — five, including the second period on Friday night.
So what happened?
“We’re better when we’re exposing our speed and play with some tempo,” Antoine Vermette said. “In the second period a few times we didn’t necessarily, on a few occasions, position ourselves and the puck to advance the play a little more efficiently. And they took advantage.”
Indeed, the first and second periods were extreme, for both teams. As good as the Wild was in the second, it was the mistake-riddled team in the first when the Blackhawks were capitalizing on everything. That reversed in the second.
Quenneville called a time out immediately after the Wild tied the game. Who knows what was said — let’s face it, we probably couldn’t print it anyway — but the message apparently got through. Brandon Saad said the Blackhawks didn’t really have a choice but to forget everything up to that point and play better from there on out.
“We don’t want to give you that many goals, that quickly, but after it happens there’s not much you can do about it,” Saad said. “It’s an even game there. It’s considered 0-0 and you have to score. We have to regroup. Regardless of what happened, obviously it’s not how we want to play but we have to regroup, refocus and get the job done.”
The Blackhawks pulled one out of the fire on Friday night. It was 50 minutes worth of a fairly strong game, punctuated by a befuddling 10 minutes. The Wild will come out desperate again on Sunday, much like it did in the second period on Friday. The Blackhawks need to be wary of that, and give up a lotless than they did the other night.
“They’re a very disciplined team. Well-structured. So you’ve got to be patient. But you’ve got to play with a purpose and be smart and manage the puck a little better than we did in the second period,” Vermette said. “That’s one thing we’ve got to focus on — move our feet and puck possession and placement would be a key factor.”