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Blackhawks can't seem to avoid 3-goal periods

by Corey Masisak /

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks yielded the second-fewest goals in the 2014-15 regular season, but they are giving them up in bunches during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Chicago grabbed a 3-0 lead against the Minnesota Wild in Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round on Friday at United Center, but the Wild scored three times in less than 10 minutes in the second period to tie the score.

It was the fifth time in seven games during these playoffs the Blackhawks have allowed three or more goals in one period.

"I don't think that's in anybody's game plan," Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya said Saturday.

The Blackhawks allowed 186 goals in the regular season, two more than the Montreal Canadiens. They have allowed 24 in seven playoff games, which is the most per game among the eight teams still playing.

The goals against came in a variety of ways in Game 1. Jason Zucker found a soft spot in the defensive-zone coverage and scored on a one-timer. Thomas Vanek grabbed a rebound on the power play and fed Zach Parise. Mikael Granlund took advantage of a turnover near the goal line.

Minnesota created turnovers and pressured Chicago into mistakes. After the game, defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said it felt like the game was slipping away. The Blackhawks figured it out in time and ended up winning for the third time when allowing a three-goal period.

"We don't want to give you that many goals, that quickly, but after it happens there's not much you can do about it," Chicago forward Brandon Saad said. "It's an even game there. It's considered 0-0 and you have to score. We have to regroup. Regardless of what happened, obviously it's not how we want to play but we have to regroup, refocus and get the job done."

It happened to the Blackhawks four times in their Western Conference First Round series against the Nashville Predators, but they won in six games. Twice Chicago allowed three goals in the first period. Each time coach Joel Quenneville pulled his goaltender and the backup earned the victory.

This series it happened early in the second period, but Quenneville stuck with Corey Crawford, and the Blackhawks played better after Teuvo Teravainen gave them a 4-3 lead with less than a minute left in the second.

"We always talk about playoff time, the momentum of games, how important it is," Quenneville said. "And when it's against you, you want to get it back quickly. We haven't done much to stem the tide in those periods. We've had a lot of quick back-to-back goals on us, which all of a sudden you get two goals in a minute and change and you're on your heels. That's probably been the byproduct of those tough periods. But certainly, not many games you expect to win giving up three in a period."

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