Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 2, Wild 1
By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 2-1 overtime win over the Minnesota Wild at the United Center on Tuesday in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.
How it happened: Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell continued to be a playoff star as he scored the game-winner in overtime off a pass from Viktor Stalberg. It was Bickell’s fifth playoff goal in the past three seasons. The eighth-seeded Wild initially shocked the sold-out Blackhawks crowd by scoring on their first shot of the game. The Wild went ahead 1-0 when Cal Clutterbuck beat Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford from the left circle at 4:48 of the first period. Crawford bounced back from the early goal and stopped the Wild’s next 26 shots. The Blackhawks evened the game at 1-1 when Patrick Kane dished the puck off to Marian Hossa on the rush, and Hossa finished from the left circle at 2:06 of the second period. Wild goaltender Josh Harding replaced Niklas Backstrom as the team’s starter just before the game. Harding, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis earlier this year, played in five games during the regular season. He made 36 saves.
Player of the game: Harding stepped up in a difficult situation. He hadn’t started since Jan. 30 and found out just before Tuesday’s game he was going to have to replace Backstrom. In his last start, which also happened to be against the Blackhawks, he allowed two goals on four shots and was pulled from the game.
What it means: The Blackhawks and Wild played in some tight games during the regular season, and that carried over into their first game of the playoffs. Two of the teams’ three regular-season games were decided by one goal. Both were also two of the top teams in the league in one-goal games. The Blackhawks were 19-3-5 in one-goal games in the regular season, and the Wild were 13-5-3. The Wild proved they’re not going to allow the Blackhawks to roll through the first round. The Wild kept themselves in the game most of the night by getting in the way of the Blackhawks’ shots. The Wild blocked 21 shots. The Blackhawks played in five overtime games in the first round last season and two in the opening round in 2011. Eight of the Blackhawks’ last nine playoff games dating back to 2011 have gone to overtime.
What’s next: Game 2 of the series will be held in Chicago on Friday. The series will then move to Minnesota for the following two games.