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How one bad goal changed a game

Apr 17, 2010, 9:45 AM EDT

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Before anyone accuses me of it, I am not blaming Antti Niemi for last
night’s loss by the Blackhawks. In fact, I thought he played reasonably
well, and he certainly gave his team a good chance to win. No, this is
more about the Blackhawks as a team and how after one bad goal they let
the game get completely away from them.

At the time of the game-tying goal by J.P. Dumont in the early
minutes of the third period, the Blackhawks has been in control of the
game for most of the preceding 40 minutes. Then….

At that point in the game, the Chicago Blackhawks had 22 shots on net
compared to just 13 for the Predators. It’s a perfect of example of how
tremendous goaltending on end of the ice can turn the tables in a game,
especially when there’s a fluke, soft goal allowed on the other side.

Yet
this isn’t just about the one bad goal. What happened after the goal is
the story of the game, as the life was sucked out of the home crowd and
the Blackhawks themselves, who managed just four shots on net the rest
of the game. The Predators would take control in the third period after
Dumont’s goal, taking 13 shots and scoring three goals (two
empty-netters).

The Blackhawks cannot allow one bad goal to affect
their performance in a game, especially if they have hopes of heading
to the Stanley Cup finals and especially if they’ll be riding with Antti
Niemi along the way. Perhaps it was just too deflating to have worked so
hard against a spectacular effort by Pekka Rinne, only to have the game
turnaround on one backhanded flutter puck.

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