ST. PAUL, Minn. — Getting into those first postseason games: it can be an exciting feeling.
Joakim Nordstrom has played in three in a row now, with the fourth coming tonight when the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Minnesota Wild in Game 3 of their second-round series. Jeremy Morin, meanwhile, got his first taste, albeit a brief one, in Game 2 on Sunday. But be it decent minutes or just a smattering, both players are enjoying the postseason experience.
Nordstrom is definitely in, but Morin is still uncertain if he’ll play on Tuesday night. Morin made his NHL postseason debut on Sunday but played just nine shifts and logged just under six minutes of ice time. It wasn’t the easiest situation for Morin, who was part of a fourth line with Michal Handzus and Kris Versteeg. But as long as he’s in, he’ll do what’s necessary.
“It’s definitely tougher to get into the game but at the same time it’s a different role and I’m willing to pay any role I’m asked to do,” said Morin. “Hopefully I’ll get in there again at some point.”
Entering the playoffs, Morin said if he wasn’t playing, he’d soak in the experience and try to learn from watching. He’s done both, especially the latter.
“It’s just a different pace; there’s less room out there,” Morin said. “It’s playoff hockey. It’s a tighter game and everyone’s working that much harder and it’s tougher to get things done.”
Nordstrom, meanwhile, was part of a third line with Brandon Saad and fellow Swede Marcus Kruger that coach Joel Quenneville liked in Game 2. Nordstrom has felt more comfortable in postseason games, thanks to the regular-season chances he got down the stretch. It doesn’t hurt to have familiarity with Kruger, either.
“He’s easy to play with and obviously he’s helping me out, explaining if I don’t understand or things like that. That makes it easy for me,” said Nordstrom, who’s played for Kruger’s father and with Kruger’s brother in the past. “He makes other players better, too, so he’s a great player to play with.”