CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks liked the finished product against the Minnesota Wild in Game 1 of their second-round series, but there were segments of their performance they weren’t pleased with on Friday.
A day after their 5-2 win over the Wild, the Blackhawks addressed their concerns Saturday over the way they allowed the Wild to control the game and outshoot them 10-1 on net from the middle of the second period to nearly the halfway point of the third period. The Wild outscored them 2-0 during that span.
Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya's explanation for why the Wild surged ahead for nearly 20 minutes was simple.
“I think they just outworked us,” Oduya said on Saturday. “That’s just the bottom line. Hockey’s very simple like that sometimes. You try to complicate things with systems and plays and a bunch of different things.
“But we talked about it today, too, the passion and fire has got to be there and the urgency. I think they had a little bit more of that. Obviously, when you’re down a couple goals you’re stepping on the pedal a little bit more, probably. We sat back too much. We can’t do that.”
The Blackhawks had gone ahead by two goals when the Wild began creating more chances. The Wild outshot the Blackhawks 7-0 in the final 8:39 of the second period after Marian Hossa gave the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead. The Wild started the third period in the same manner and were rewarded for it. They outshot the Blackhawks 3-1 on net for the first eight minutes of the period and scored twice to even the game.
“I think we almost fed them that confidence that they could win that game with our own sloppy play,” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “We weren't happy with the way we played. We made a lot of mistakes that were unnecessary. I think it just comes down to making sure that we've got that work ethic and that we've got that energy and that high pace we always talk about and other things will fall into place and make things harder on them.
“I think they gained that momentum, gained that energy that they wanted off our poor play in a way. We'll try and be better in that regards tomorrow.”
The Blackhawks have been riding a roller coaster for most third periods in the playoffs. They squandered two one-goal leads in the third period and ultimately lost in overtime to the St. Louis Blues in Games 1 and 2 of their first-round series.
The Blackhawks rallied from a one-goal deficit in the third period of Game 4 and won in overtime. They gave away a one-goal lead in the third period of Game 5, but they won in overtime. They outscored the Blues 4-0 in the third period in Game 6 to win 5-1. On Friday, the Blackhawks outscored the Wild 3-2 in the third period.
Overall, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville wasn’t satisfied with his team’s play in Game 1 against the Wild.
“We have to be better than we were last night – all areas across the board,” Quenneville said. “Technically, we have to be better. Our pace has to be quicker. (They are a) fast team, so there isn’t a lot of time and space out there. So we have to react better, be more alert, and that’s across the board.”