Blackhawks slip past Wild in Game 1 of Western semifinals

Published 11:33 am Saturday, May 2, 2015

CHICAGO — Teuvo Teravainen sure made the most of his opportunity.

All he did was score the go-ahead goal to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 1-0 lead over Minnesota in the Western Conference semifinals.

Not bad, considering he barely got off the bench in the opening round.

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Teravainen broke a tie with his first playoff goal and the Blackhawks opened the conference semifinals with a 4-3 victory over the Wild on Friday night.

“It’s something you always dream about,” he said.

The Blackhawks, trying to knock out Minnesota for the third straight year, struck first after taking out Nashville in six games in the opening round. Game 2 is Sunday night in Chicago.

The 20-year-old Teravainen came through with 58.2 seconds left in the second period after Chicago blew a 3-0 lead when he scored from a difficult angle. Held out of the final four games of the first round, he was expected to play after being placed on a line with Antoine Vermette and Patrick Sharp during the week.

“I think he’s getting better, stronger,” veteran winger Marian Hossa said. “I know he didn’t play lots in the last (series) games, but when he’s there, he sees the ice really well. He’s really skilled, he’s learning. A great shot at the end.”

Brandon Saad scored 1:15 into the game. Patrick Kane and Marcus Kruger added goals just over 2 minutes apart in the first period.

Corey Crawford made 30 saves, and the Blackhawks came away with the win even though they were outplayed for big portions of the game.

“We kind of got away with this one today,” defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said.

Zach Parise had a goal and an assist for Minnesota, Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund also scored, and Thomas Vanek had two assists.

Devan Dubnyk stopped 31 shots, but the Wild lost after rallying from a 3-0 deficit.

“It (stinks), but you gotta put it behind you,” five-time All-Star defenseman Ryan Suter said. “If you win the game, you gotta forget about it. We lost the game, we gotta forget about it, too. So just prepare for the next game on Sunday and be better.”

The Wild scored three goals in an 8:09 span in the second period to wipe out a 3-0 deficit, only to see Chicago take the lead on Teravainen’s goal. He picked the puck off the left board and fired a quick shot high off the right post and into the net.

“I didn’t pick it up until it was about 5-6 feet in front of me and just kind of a flash and that’s why I kind of just waved at it and missed it,” Dubnyk said. “The way it came up the wall, I didn’t see it come off the guy’s stick and I didn’t pick it up at all, but that’s my job. My job is to get out and find a way to find the puck at all times and I didn’t do that there and it cost me. That’s certainly a disappointing play to give up when we workd as hard as we did to come back. It’s one play and got to make sure it doesn’t happen again, that’s all.”

Crawford preserved the lead in the third when he saved a shot by Matt Dumba with his left toe with 7:38 remaining. He stopped Nino Niederreiter point blank just over a minute later.

Minnesota’s Jason Pominville missed a half-open net from about 15 feet, the puck fluttering wide left with about 2:40 left.

It was a strong finish for Crawford after he found himself under siege in the second period. Minnesota started to dominate in just about every way and quickly pulled even.

But the Blackhawks stuck with Crawford. And coach Joel Quenneville gave an emphatic “no” when asked if he considered making a switch.

Crawford, of course, was benched in favor of Scott Darling for part of the first round. But he was not giving up soft goals in this one.

“Why would I get pulled?” Crawford said. “The game was tied, so. Next one.”

Notes: The Blackhawks are 23-4 in their past 27 home playoff games. … Chicago F Kris Versteeg sat out with a lower-body injury that Quenneville said was not serious. … The Wild are winless in seven playoff games at Chicago.