CHICAGO -- What Chicago Blackhawks forward Peter Regin tried to do prior to playing the Minnesota Wild in Game 5 of a second-round playoff series was forget he was about to play in Game 5 of a second-round playoff series.
Regin was inserted into the Blackhawks’ lineup for Game 5 against the Wild on Sunday after being a healthy scratch for the team’s first 10 playoff games.
The pressure could have been a lot to handle, so Regin first attacked the challenge from a mental standpoint.
“I tried not to focus too much on the importance of the game,” Regin said. “I think that could maybe set me off a little bit. I just tried to focus on what I had to do on the ice and trust my game.”
That he did.
Regin showed no signs of having not played since April 12 and was an instant factor for the Blackhawks on Sunday. His biggest contribution came when he drove to the net in the second period and forced Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin to hook him from behind to break up a point-blank scoring attempt. The Blackhawks capitalized on the power play for their first goal of the game and went on to win 2-1 and take a 3-2 series lead.
Regin also helped the Blackhawks become a four-line team again.
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville had lost confidence in his whole lineup in recent games and had predominately played three lines. With Regin, Kris Versteeg and Bryan Bickell playing well together, Quenneville was able to utilize all four of his lines on Sunday.
“I thought he came in and gave us a good presence there,” Quenneville said of Regin. “I thought he gave us some speed in the middle. I thought [Versteeg did], as well. That line was effective for us, gave us more balance and gave us a four-line rotation, which is all right, as well. But a good response first playoff game for us and from him. We liked what we saw.”
Regin created a few chances for the Blackhawks and was solid defensively. He had a 70 Corsi percentage. (The Blackhawks had seven shots for and three against with Regin on the ice in 5-on-5 situations.) Quenneville rewarded Regin’s effort by playing him 11:27 of even-strength ice time.
Regin didn’t want to boast about his play, but his smile after the game spoke to how he was feeling.
“I thought it went all right,” Regin said. “I was a little nervous before the game, but I tried to focus on the positive things. I’ve been rested and tried to be excited instead of being too nervous about having not played in a while.
“I tried to think positive and just go out and play, pretty much.”