Chicago Blackhawks Finally Break Through Minnesota Wild
During the second period, Chicago finally seemed to figure out how to get past a previously stifling Wild team defense. The Blackhawks had carried their dreadful play from Games 3 and 4 into the first period of Game 5, but the second period brought about a marked change. Chicago finally employed an aggressive forecheck, abandoning the ridiculously ineffective 1-2-2 Joel Quenneville had the team operating under in the prior games.
The Blackhawks looked like their old selves in the second period, outshooting the Wild 15-6 and generating a wave of momentum that ultimately led to Jonathan Toews‘ game winning goal early in the third. Thereafter, Chicago went back to the 1-2-2 and was rather fortunate to avoid getting burned in a similar fashion to what the St. Louis Blues did twice during the first round.
Still, that second period was incredibly promising. The Blackhawks had managed 22 or less shots in each of the first four games of the series leading into Sunday night. That aforementioned forecheck played a huge role in Chicago getting 15 shots on the ever-shaky Ilya Bryzgalov in just the one period.
On a related note, Peter Regin‘s speed is exceptionally helpful when the Blackhawks play aggressively. His play in Game 5 likely earned him an extended stay in the lineup.
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