(SportsNetwork.com) – The Minnesota Wild gave the Chicago Blackhawks a scare
after falling behind by three goals in the opener of the Western Conference
semifinals. Down 1-0 in the best-of-seven series, the Wild know they need to
do more than threaten the Blackhawks on Sunday when the clubs meet in Chicago
for Game 2.
The Blackhawks were able to hold on for a 4-3 victory in Game 1 on Friday
despite coughing up a 3-0 lead gained in the opening period. Minnesota tallied
three times in a span of 9:30 to begin the second stanza, but after tying the
contest the Wild allowed Chicago’s Teuvo Teravainen to score the game-winner
with under a minute left in the middle period.
“You want to take all the good things with you and move on and learn from the
things we need to do better and start preparing for Game 2,” said Wild captain
Mikko Koivu. “It’s a good thing we were able to come back, but at the same
time you don’t want to fall behind three goals.”
Teravainen, seeing his first action since Game 2 of the opening-round series
against the Nashville Predators, fluttered a shot from along the boards that
got past Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk at 19:01 of the second.
It was the first career postseason goal for the 20-year old Teravainen, who
replaced an injured Kris Versteeg in the lineup. Chicago head coach Joel
Quenneville was mulling starting Teravainen over Versteeg even if the latter
player wasn’t battling a lower-body issue.
Dubnyk, Minnesota’s Vezina candidate goaltender, stopped 31-of-35 shots in the
loss and was kicking himself for allowing the game-winner.
“I certainly felt real good as the game went on, just real disappointed in
myself for giving up that fourth one,” said Dubnyk.
Brandon Saad, Patrick Kane and Marcus Kruger all scored in the first period
for Chicago, which has eliminated the Wild in the playoffs the previous two
Corey Crawford made 30 saves for the Blackhawks, who defeated Nashville in six
games during the first round.
“It’s important,” said Crawford. “That team is playing with a lot of
confidence. We came out and got the start we wanted.”
Jason Zucker, Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund lit the lamp for the Wild, who
reached the second round by beat St. Louis in six games.
Minnesota forward Justin Fontaine will miss Game 2 with a lower-body injury
suffered in the second period of the opener. It’s unclear who will replace
Fontaine in tonight’s game, as head coach Mike Yeo is expected to choose
between Sean Bergenheim, Ryan Carter, Erik Haula and Jordan Schroeder.
The Wild are desperate to even this series before hosing Game 3 in St. Paul
this Tuesday. However, Chicago is unbeaten on home ice in these playoffs,
winning its first four tests at the United Center.
This is the third postseason series between Chicago and the Wild. The
Blackhawks beat Minnesota in five games two years ago in the opening round
before taking the 2014 conference semifinal encounter in six.