The Chicago Blackhawks coughed up a 3-0 lead in the second period, but Teuvo Teravainen scored with a minute to go in the frame to give the team a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night at the United Center.
Just over a minute into the game, the Blackhawks scored to take the early lead. Brandon Saad made a tremendous move through the offensive zone to get around Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter, and he then ripped a wrist shot over Devan Dubnyk to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
Corey Crawford stepped up in a big way over the next eight minutes of the game, making some huge saves and settling in nicely. Mikko Koivu had a great chance from the slot that Crawford stopped, and even a shot from Thomas Vanek that somehow got past the leg pad of Crawford rang off the near post as the Hawks maintained their advantage.
Near the halfway mark of the period, the Blackhawks took advantage of another great deke move from a forward to extend their lead. Brad Richards was the player showing off his quick hands this time, moving with ease around Marco Scandella to throw a pass to Patrick Kane. The talented winger ripped a one-timer slap shot at the net, and Dubnyk couldn't stop it as Chicago went up by a 2-0 margin.
Just a few minutes later, the fourth line got into the act and gave the Blackhawks a three-goal lead. Andrew Shaw grabbed a loose puck in the slot and fired it toward the net, and Marcus Kruger ultimately snagged it near the blue paint and backhanded a shot past Dubnyk to give the Blackhawks a 3-0 lead after the first period of play.
As the second period opened, the Blackhawks got a good chance early from Johnny Oduya as he fired a puck off the crossbar, but it was all Minnesota after that. The downhill slide for Chicago started as Thomas Vanek’s cross-ice pass found the stick of Jason Zucker, and he flipped home a shot to make it a 3-1 game.
Just a few minutes later, the Wild got a power play thanks to a Michal Rozsival penalty, and they scored again. Zach Parise drew the original penalty, and then he ended up scoring the goal as he found a wide open seam near the blue paint and slid a shot underneath Corey Crawford’s leg pad to make it a 3-2 contest.
Mikael Granlund then finished off the rally with a game-tying goal with about 10 minutes to go in the second period. Granlund and Parise combined to steal the puck away from Duncan Keith along the boards, and Granlund ultimately got into an open spot in the low slot and flipped it over Crawford to tie things up at 3-3.
The Wild continued their onslaught until late in the period when Teuvo Teravainen grabbed the momentum back for the Blackhawks. With a minute to go, he took a big hit along the boards from Jordan Leopold, hopped back up, and uncorked a quick wrist shot from the boards. Somehow it got over Dubnyk’s arm and curled just inside the far post, and the Blackhawks found themselves ahead by a 4-3 margin after two periods.
The third period saw two straight power plays go to the Wild, but the Blackhawks were able to kill off both penalties. Duncan Keith even notched a quality short-handed chance late in the second penalty kill, but Dubnyk made the save to keep the Hawks in front.
The Wild did have one final chance to tie things up with about two minutes to go, but Jason Pominville tried to rush the shot and fired it wide of the net, and the Blackhawks were able to hold on down the stretch to take down Game 1.
The Blackhawks will look to take a 2-0 series lead on Sunday night when the two teams meet again in Chicago. The puck will drop at 7:30 p.m.