Peter Regin wasn’t necessarily there to be a game-changer. He was there to bring energy, give the Blackhawks a fresh-legged option and, perhaps, balance the minutes more.
He ended up doing a little of everything.
Regin drew the hooking penalty that led to a much-needed power-play goal in the second period, as the Blackhawks went on to beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1 in Game 5 of their second-round series on Sunday night. It was a strong showing for Regin, who was making his postseason debut for the Blackhawks. In the 11 ½ minutes he played, Regin drew that call, recorded three hits and helped the Blackhawks get more balanced minutes across the board.
For Regin, just quelling the nerves and focusing on the little things helped.
“To be honest, (I) just tried to focus on what I had to do on the ice,” he said. “It’s not about the stage and importance of the game. I tried to break it down to simple things, visualize breakouts and how to forecheck and small things like that. If you do those things right, they usually turn out good.”
Regin did a lot of things right. His play that drew a Jonas Brodin hooking call was one of the first times the Blackhawks drove through the slot aggressively, and it paid off. Just 45 seconds into the ensuing power play, Bryan Bickell deflected a Patrick Kane shot to tie the game, 1-1.
“After not playing probably over a month, he did an extremely great job in the middle,” said Marian Hossa. “He created the power play, we scored on it and he played a strong game.”
Coach Joel Quenneville also liked Regin’s contributions.
“I thought he came in and gave us a good presence, good speed there. That line was effective for us,” Quenneville said of Regin, Kris Versteeg and Bryan Bickell. “We got a four-line rotation which was all right, as well. It was a good response in the first playoff game for him, and we liked what we saw.”
Having a player in there with fresh legs helped. Regin hadn’t played in a month. He wasn’t worried about the physical aspect, however; the Blackhawks practices have kept him active and in shape. Mentally, he just needed to not get too nervous.
“I tried to focus on the positive things, that I had my chance now,” he said. “I just wanted to get out, play my game and help out the team in these important games. I tried to just focus on what I had to do and trust my game and I thought it went well. We got the win, which is the most important thing.”
Regin helped the Blackhawks get closer to a four-line rotation again. He had the energy they needed, too. For a first-time postseason game with the Blackhawks, it was a pretty nice outing.
“I’m just happy we won,” he said. “Getting back into the lineup after a pretty long time (out) and in such an important game, I’m just happy we won. That’s all that matters.”