Hawks kept their cool in opener
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Q. What's the one thing you liked best about the Blackhawks' play in the series opener?
A. I liked their determination in that game. They played all areas of the game hard and they didn't get frustrated by what was going on from the Wild -- their ability to take away some of the offensive flow the Blackhawks like to have.
The Blackhawks stuck with it, and it seemed like toward the end of the game they were getting some better opportunities because they stayed focused and didn't get frustrated. I've liked the way that they've played all season long in close games. They know they can play those type of games if they have to. Is it their first choice? Probably not, but at the same time I liked the way they stuck with that game and were able to win it.
Q. What did we learn about how the Wild wants to play the Hawks?
A. Minnesota doesn't want to get into a run-and-gun series, they want to play it close to the vest and keep things in hand. I thought they did a real nice job of clogging up the neutral zone.
They have to play a structured game, a low-scoring game. Tuesday's game was going to be decided on one good play or one bad bounce and the Blackhawks were able to get that.
Q. What kind of a difference will it make if it's backup Josh Harding in goal for the Wild the next few games or the whole series?
A. You'd be hard pressed to say that Niklas Backstrom would play any better of a game than Josh Harding did in that opening game -- he was tremendous. You certainly tip your cap to him. It was a tough situation for him finding out during the pregame warmup that he'd be playing.
You'll miss Backstrom because he's a world-class goaltender, but at the same time, you certainly can't fault Harding's performance. He was the third star in the game and he deserved it.
Q. Speaking of goalies, what did you think about the play of Corey Crawford? One not-so-great goal allowed early and then tough the rest of the way.
A. I know that's not the way he wanted to start the game, but the way that he battled back from that and got himself refocused after that was a real good sign.
He made the saves that he had to. He made a great save in overtime against Zach Parise, shortly before the Blackhawks scored the game-winner.
He came up with a great response after giving up that first goal and that's what he's done all season long.
• Troy Murray is in his 13th year as a member of the Blackhawks broadcast team and his eighth year as the color analyst for the team's radio broadcasts. The Selke Award winner was a five-time 20-goal scorer and a veteran of 15 years in the NHL, playing in 915 career games.
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