By Chris Block
The Blackhawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead after just 15 minutes of the first period in Game 1, Friday night at United Center. Brandon Saad notched his third goal of postseason on an incredible power move and shot that he ripped by Devan Dubnyk at the 1:15 mark. Patrick Kane and Marcus Kruger scored 124 seconds apart later in the period to give the Hawks command of the game. Kane’s tally, also his 3rd of the playoffs, was set up by a great move (or, the $2M toe-drag, you could call it.) by Brad Richards entering the Wild zone.
But the Wild chipped away at the Hawks lead in the second period, and by the mid-way point of the second stanza, the game was tied 3-3. Minnesota’s marksmen Jason Zucker, Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund all scored to even the score at 1:21, 5:07 and 9:30 of the second respectively.
Neither starter, Dubnyk nor Corey Crawford were pulled from the game. Crawford stopped 30 of 33 shots. Dubnyk allowed 4 goals against 35 Blackhawks’ shots on net.
Chicago’s 4th and deciding goal came off the stick of Teuvo Teravainen with 59 seconds to go in the second period. The line of Antoine Vermette, Patrick Sharp and Teravainen were doing their work down in the Wild zone when Teravainen fired a puck toward the net from the half wall. Dubnyk might have been partially screened for a moment but he just whiffed at it with his glove and the puck sailed by him and into the net at 19:01 of the second.
The score remained that way throughout the 3rd period, though Minnesota’s Dubnyk had to come up with 15 saves in the final period to keep his team in the game.
Crawford’s win gives him a 2-1 record now in this postseason. Crawford is now 9-3 lifetime in postseason play versus Minnesota.
The Hawks are now 11-7 in Game 1’s under Joel Quenneville. They’ve gone on to win 9 of those 10 prior series in which they’ve won Game 1 under their current coach.
Game 2 is Sunday night at 7:30pm central on CBC and Sportsnet 360 in Canada and on NBCSports Network in the States.