Originally, I was going to make this entire reaction just about Corey Crawford. And then I realized, Patrick Kane scored a goal, too, so he kind of deserves a mention. But for the Chicago Blackhawks to emerge from their Game 3 tilt against the Minnesota Wild, their first of the series on the road, with a victory, it required a ton from Corey Crawford. And he absolutely delivered.
While Crawford's performance isn't going to be enough for those who are still clamoring for Scott Darling, and probably even Antti Raanta, it was enough to lead the Blackhawks to the win. He stopped all 30 shots that the Wild threw at him, even with the Wild dictating the possession for much of the final two-thirds of the game.
The game certainly got off to a promising start for the Blackhawks, as they held a 9-8 edge in shots and maintained a relatively even Corsi figure, trailing the Wild 17-15 in the opening frame. The only tally of the first period came off the stick of Patrick Kane, who has been absolutely electric in these playoffs.
It wasn't a flashy goal, but it did the job. On a rush on the power play, Andrew Shaw tapped the puck to Kane, who skated in to the right side of Devan Dubnyk, and fired it through his five hole. The vaunted Dubnyk that was 2-0 against the Blackhawks in the regular season, and was dominant in the final two games of the first round against the St. Louis Blues, has now lost three in a row to the Blackhawks. Not that Tuesday night was entirely his fault.
The remainder of the game heavily favored the Wild, as they got back to the type of possession that led them to have some success against the Blackhawks in last year's first round. They out Corsi'd the Blackhawks 26-14 in the second period, though it led to just a 12-9 edge in shots. They followed that up with a 22-12 Corsi advantage in the third, holding the Blackhawks to just four shots in the third period, with 10 of their own.
But it wasn't enough to find the back of the net. Corey Crawford was absolutely brilliant, getting back to that form that he displayed when the Blackhawks were in that end-of-winter lull. He made some tremendous stops in the final two periods that allowed the Hawks to escape with the Game 3 win, stealing the first of the two early road contests.
Obviously Crawford was the star, and Kane was the goal scorer, but as much as I'd like to try, it's impossible to ignore some of the other performances for the road side, most notably the third line. Teuvo Teravainen has played some of his best hockey in these last couple of games, and it's come next to Patrick Sharp and Antoine Vermette. The three of them represented each of the Blackhawks' three Corsi leaders for the evening, with Teuvo leading the way with his four shots. He saw almost 13 minutes of ice time, which is pretty telling given how limited his time has been throughout the year under Joel Quenneville.
Stealing one of two of these contests on the road, with a 2-0 lead would have been huge. Grabbing the first one puts all of the pressure completely on Minnesota, who needs to scratch out a win at home to keep the series alive. If the first line can recover from a quiet Game 3, and the Hawks get the type of performances from up and down the lineup that they did on Tuesday, they'll be in the driver's seat in Game 4.
We'll see you Thursday.
Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.