Teravainen nets winner as Blackhawks edge Wild in Game 1


Teravainen nets winner as Blackhawks edge Wild in Game 1

The Blackhawks know what it’s like to overcome a big deficit and win a playoff game.

They did it twice against the Nashville Predators, erasing two- and three-goal deficits en route to victories. On Friday night, they almost got a taste of their own medicine.


The Blackhawks blew a 3-0 lead but Teuvo Teravainen’s late second-period goal, his first career postseason score, proved the winner in the Blackhawks’ 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild. The Blackhawks take the early lead in this second-round series, which continues at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Corey Crawford stopped 30 of 33 shots for the victory. Marcus Kruger scored his first of the postseason and Duncan Keith had two assists. Devan Dubnyk stopped 31 of 35 shots in the loss. Zach Parise had a goal and an assist and Thomas Vanek had two assists for the Wild.

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There was more a sense of relief than anything for the Blackhawks, who had a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period but watched the Wild tie them up in about nine minutes in the second period.

“Yeah it’s frustrating,” Patrick Sharp said. “They came out in the second period, I don’t know if it was a combination of us taking our foot off the gas and them pushing forward that much harder, but it was nice to see us use the crowd to our advantage at the start. I wish we could put our finger on it. Hopefully we can play more of a 60-minute game.”

The Blackhawks had a great opening 20 minutes, when the Wild were making the mistakes. Brandon Saad scored just 1:15 into the game and Patrick Kane and Kruger later added goals. The Wild reversed things in the second, and took advantage of Blackhawks mistakes, en route to tying the game just 9:30 into the period. Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund, along with Parise, scored during the comeback.

“They had a pretty good second period and we were sitting back way too much and letting them do pretty much whatever they wanted to in the first 10 minutes,” Niklas Hjalmarsson said. “That’s not how you can play in the playoffs when you’re up three goals. They’re going to take advantage of it.”

Coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks should’ve known the Wild would push back.

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“No lead is safe this year,” he said. “Certainly we have to be better in that period. They’re a dangerous team, so expect every shift to be important.”

Then came Teravainen’s late-period goal. The Finnish forward, who was back into the lineup after being scratched the final four first-round games against Nashville, fired from near the boards and his shot escaped Dubnyk’s glove.

“I think that wasn't the biggest shot,” Teravainen said. “But sometimes good things happen when I shoot.”

The Blackhawks didn’t get the 60-minute effort they wanted on Friday night. They know any team can come back from any deficit at this time of year; they already did it twice this postseason. The Wild almost turned the tables on them. Almost.

“To tell you the truth, we don’t like to do that,” Marian Hossa said of the Blackhawks’ ability to come back late. “If we do it, it shows we have a lot of strong players with a lot of experience. We never quit. But it doesn’t happen all the time. We’re lucky we got this one but we have to be better in the second.”


Wake-up call? Brandon Saad 'surprised' about possibility of being a healthy scratch


Wake-up call? Brandon Saad 'surprised' about possibility of being a healthy scratch

Brandon Saad played a majority of last season on the first line, started this season on the second to change things up, got demoted to the fourth by the fifth game, and could find himself out of the lineup in the sixth.

Before the Blackhawks hit the ice for practice on Monday, the 25-year-old winger found a white jersey hanging in his stall. That's usually reserved for players who are injured — Andreas Martinsen (back) was the only other player wearing one — or players who are on the outside looking in, which appears to be Saad right now considering he was not part of the four-line rotation.

"I don't think anyone wants to be wearing white around here," he said. "But it is what it is and there's nothing you can do but keep trying to improve. It's their job to make the call to put the best team out there to win hockey games."

Known for being even-keeled through the ups and downs, Saad expressed disappointment about the possibility of being a healthy scratch on Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes. He didn't exactly show that emotion following his demotion to the fourth line, perhaps out of respect to the players he was playing with by noting how it brings balance.

But he did on Monday, and it was the first time we've really seen some sort of emotion out of him.

"Everyone makes mistakes and things aren't always going to go your way but to be out of the lineup, a little surprised today," Saad said. "But it is what it is. ... No one wants to be out of the lineup. That's never fun regardless of who you are."

When asked to pinpoint what's gone wrong, Saad said he wasn't the right person to ask.

"I think you got to ask him that," he said, referring to Joel Quenneville and the coaching staff. "It's his calls. For me, you can talk pros and cons as much as you want but just trying to go out there and compete and win hockey games. We've won a few here, I know every game has gone to overtime so they've been close. Nothing was said to me about lineup change or anything like that. You just come in and you see your jersey and you go out there and you play."

So Quenneville was asked.

"Just expect more," he said. "That's the situation."

Is his mindset in the right place?

"I think he's fine," Quenneville said. "His mindset is what it is. Whether it's urgency or passion, coming up with loose pucks in those areas is going to be the difference."

The Blackhawks sending a message shouldn't only be directed at Saad. It also serves as a reminder to his teammates and is important to note for the younger guys about earning your ice time.

"I don't really know where the coaches are coming from so I'm not going to comment on that," Jonathan Toews said respectfully. "But [Saad] has been doing some good things and I think it's good for all of us to know what's going on there because if [Saad] can get his ice time taken away, then so can a lot of guys, myself included. So we all want to play well and have team success."

The Blackhawks need Saad to return to form quickly because he's crucial to their overall success. There's no debate about that. It's why the thought of Saad, who played in all 82 games last season, serving as the 13th forward is frustrating for everyone involved.

It hasn't been a problem in the past, but now it's becoming one because of the Blackhawks' aspirations of getting back to the playoffs and their dependence on their top players.

"I don’t think it’s an issue," Quenneville said. "We just expect more out of him."

Blackhawks make sports history with fifth straight overtime game to start season

Blackhawks make sports history with fifth straight overtime game to start season

The Blackhawks made sports history on Saturday after they appeared in their fifth straight overtime game to start the season.

No NHL team has done that since the league introduced a regular-season overtime period in 1983-84, per the Elias Sports Bureau. It also has never happened in the history of MLB, NBA or NFL, showing just how crazy this early season run has been for the Blackhawks, who have rallied from all five games and have come away with wins in three of them.

"We’ve had five games, every one of them have been extremely intense and the game’s been on the line from start to finish," coach Joel Quenneville said following a 4-3 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues. "Our group’s been competitive this year, the guys have been working hard for one another. I don’t know how many games we’ve been down in the third period, and coming back to win is special."

The Blackhawks appeared in 17 overtime/shootout games last season and won seven of them. They are one of six teams this season that have yet to pick up a regulation win.

On a separate note, Saturday marked the eighth time in Blackhawks history that one player scored a tying goal in the third period and scored in overtime (Alex DeBrincat), according to the NHL's PR department. It's the second time it's happened this year for the Blackhawks, with Jonathan Toews the other on Oct. 6 against St. Louis.