Predators capitalize on Blackhawks errors

The Blackhawks said they just have to work harder on Sunday to even the series. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Goaltending has been a question mark much of the season for the Blackhawks, who rode Antti Niemi down the stretch and seemed to annoint him as the No. 1 netminder in the playoffs.

But some fans are likely to call for Cristobal Huet's return after Niemi, who was sharp for the first two periods, allowed a soft goal to J.P. Dumont that turned the tide in Game 1 against the Nashville Predators on Friday.

Dumont, a former Blackhawk, put a wobbly puck on net from the right faceoff circle, and Niemi couldn't handle it as Nashville tied the game 1-1 in the third period.

"It was a lucky bounce, but we'll take it," Dumont told reporters. "It's always something special when you play against your old team, especially in the playoffs."

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said the Hawks should have been able to bounce back.

“It was one of those that took a funny hop and funny bounce, and sometimes they go in,” Quenneville in. “But there’s still a lot of hockey after that, and we were in a pretty good spot, and that’s why I wasn’t too happy about that second one.”

Troy Brouwer's turnover in the third period led to Dumont's second goal, and Nashville scored two empty-netters to grab a 1-0 series lead. Brouwer had missed the last four games of the regular season taking care of his ill father, so he may have been rusty.

Nashville had the fifth-best road record in the NHL this season with 23 wins, just one behind the league leader.