Niemi: Ice not factor in 'terrible' goal
CHICAGO -- After giving up what he called a "terrible" goal that changed the momentum of Friday's Game 1 playoff loss to the Nashville Predators, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Antti Niemi said he should have played the sequence differently.
"I should have been more aggressive and get right behind the puck," Niemi said in addressing the goal for the first time. "I was positioned too deep. I should have just got the bounce and go straight to the puck."
The Hawks were leading 1-0, early in the third period, when J.P. Dumont flipped one on net as he entered the Chicago zone. It bounced in front of Niemi and got by him near the far post.
"I saw the puck in the air, and then I saw it in the net," Niemi said. "[It's] just a terrible goal. We were handling things really good in the game."
After the 4-1 Hawks' loss, some players mentioned the United Center ice being a little "choppy" because of a basketball court having been laid over it for over four days.
Niemi said the ice had nothing to do with the unlucky hop. He just didn't want it to affect the rest of his game.
"I shouldn't get too hard [on myself] in the middle of the game," Niemi said.
Coach Joel Quenneville isn't worried about his young goaltender's psyche.
"He's got a great approach and demeanor about himself," Quenneville said. "Those funny bounces can happen against anybody. Moving forward, it was a good test, a good challenge, but we expect him to be solid."
Game 2 is 7:30 p.m. on Sunday at the United Center.
Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPNChicago.com.