Chicago, IL – Bryan Bickell's tally with 3:25 remaining in overtime lifted the Chicago Blackhawks to a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild in Game 1 of a Western Conference quarterfinal at United Center.
Viktor Stalberg broke into the Minnesota zone on the right wing, and was joined by Bickell in a 2-on-1. The former dished across to the latter, who took one stride with the puck and scored the winner on the backhand through the pads of Josh Harding.
"I thought we were going to win it in regulation there but we carried it to OT," Bickell said. "It's special to have this city and these fans and even the teammates to get that OT to put us on top. Most importantly, to get that first win."
Marian Hossa picked up the other score and Corey Crawford stopped 26 shots for the Blackhawks, who played the eighth OT game in their last nine postseason tilts dating back to a first-round loss to Vancouver two years ago.
Cal Clutterbuck notched the lone score for the Wild. Subbing for normal starter Niklas Backstrom, who departed in warmups due to a leg injury, Harding ended up with 35 saves in defeat.
"We played a pretty good game but obviously came up on the short end," Harding said. "We just capitalize on a couple more chances I think that we're going to be set."
Game 2 is set for Chicago on Friday night.
Clutterbuck's floater from the left circle beat Crawford to the short side just 4:48 after the opening faceoff.
Crawford kept it a one-goal margin when he made two saves in close on Kyle Brodziak, a pad stop on the forehand and glove save with the backhand inside a minute left in the first period.
Hossa finally solved Harding, one-timing a Patrick Kane feed past the sliding Minnesota netminder for a power-play marker with 2:06 elapsed in the second.
Both sides were amped up in the third period, but no goals were scored after Crawford came up with seven stops and Harding made 12 saves.
Early in overtime, Hossa snaked through the Wild zone from left to right and pulled Harding out of position, but couldn't slide the backhander inside the right post thanks to a paddle stop.
Minnesota's Jason Zucker's chance from a left-circle faceoff win clanged off the crossbar with almost 7 1/2 minutes played.
The Blackhawks and Minnesota North Stars met six times in the playoffs (1982, '83, '84, '85, '90 and '91) with Chicago winning four of those meetings ... The Wild scratched forward Jason Pominville, while Chicago saw goaltender Ray Emery and forward Dave Bolland absent ... Minnesota fell to 4-5 in playoff games decided beyond regulation ... Darryl Sutter was the last Blackhawks player to record a playoff overtime goal against a Minnesota hockey franchise, scoring at 15:41 of the extra session in a 6-5 Chicago victory in Game 6 of the Norris Division Finals on April 30, 1985.