Niemi posts shutout; Kane, Bolland score
This time the Hawks finished what they started, with a solid final period en route to the 2-0 shutout and a series tie. There were no bad bounces or meltdowns this time around.
“We were focused and ready to go,” captain Jonathan Toews said after the game. “We knew we had to be better going into that situation [third period].
”We were very conscious of what happened the last game. That’s the type of team that can put a lot of pressure on you, and really put you on your heels. We didn’t want to leave it up to chance. We controlled the first 40 minutes and we wanted to do that in the third as well.”
They controlled it enough, despite taking four minor penalties in the third. The key was getting a second goal, early in the period to extend the lead.
“That second goal took a little bit of the heat off,” coach Joel Quenneville said.
For the first two periods it felt a lot like Friday night. The Hawks were outplaying and outshooting the Predators but only led 1-0, just like Friday.
“No one brought it up, ‘Hey, we’re in the same position we were in the other day’, at least not exactly in those words,” John Madden said of the second intermission. “We just said, ‘Stay the course.’ We’re in a good spot. If we have to win the game 1-0, that’s fine by us.”
Up 2-0 was even better. And it allowed the Hawks to play loose, unlike Friday.
“There was more energy in our team tonight,” Quenneville stated. “The first 40 minutes of the other game, we’re not complaining, but the last 20 was hard to watch. This was more representative of the 60-minute effort we’ve traditionally been playing all year.”
It was, especially after the Hawks accepted what this game -- and most likely this series -- will be about.
“We did a good job of sticking with it and not getting frustrated,” Duncan Keith said. “That’s the key. They’re a patient team and we have to be the same way. It’s not going to be a shootout with these guys.”
The Hawks mentioned the word patient many times in the 48 hours between games. On Sunday, they backed up their words and the results showed. It may take at least three more similar efforts if the Hawks want to move on.
“We can play that style,” Madden said. “We just have to stick with it.”