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.
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.
“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.”