CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks are hopeful their worst period of playoff hockey is already behind them.
The top-seeded Blackhawks endured a nightmarish first period in Game 1 of their first-round series with the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. The Blackhawks allowed the Wild to score on their first shot of the game and had more of their shots blocked (seven) than they got through to the net (six) in the first period.
The Blackhawks were put in an unfamiliar spot -- trailing after one period. They were down after one period in just nine games during the regular season.
"I think everybody in the dressing room was a little nervous, even the older guys, though they won't say it,” Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell said after the game.
The first period became a non-story Tuesday because the Blackhawks picked up the pace, started getting more shots on goal and ultimately pulled out a 2-1 win in overtime. But on Wednesday, the Blackhawks acknowledged they can't have another start like that.
"It was the first game, whether it was the buildup, the anticipation, but it certainly wasn't the start we've seen from our team throughout the season,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said on Wednesday. "We want to make sure we're starting quicker. We want to play a faster game. I think we got better as the game progressed, but I still think we want to make sure that how we start and finish, we want to make sure we're at the same pace.”
Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp admitted a lot of factors could have played into the team's first-period struggles, but he also said that must change for Game 2 on Friday.
"I think for Game 1 we were ready,” Sharp said on Wednesday. "Emotionally, we were fired up, perhaps a little too much. You can put part of that on the nerves and the excitement of being in the playoffs again. You can also give Minnesota credit for playing a good first period. But we worked hard to get home-ice advantage. We want to make sure we keep our crowd into it. They give us energy throughout the game. So starting fast in Game 2 in important.”