We Are Regal Radio contributor Sidney Brown comes to us with a recap of Game 1 of the Chicago Blackhawks’ postseason run. As the Hawks try to live up to the large expectations from their regular season stay on top of their developments with Sidney here on WARR online and on Regal broadcasting. Also follow on twitter @regalradio1.
By Sidney Brown, WARR contributor
Chicago Blackhawks winger Bryan Bickell got a jump on his teammates in the quest for playoff glory, netting home a game-winning goal at 16:35 in overtime off of a tremendous pass from Viktor Stalberg on a 2 on 1 break in overtime to give the Hawks a 2-1 win in Game 1 of their first round series against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night at the United Center.
“We were able to battle through a lot today,” said Hawks Corey Crawford said to the media following the game one victory. Crawford, with as much pressure on him as any Hawk entering this postseason run, had 26 stops on the night.
“We battled through that first goal, had a couple of PK’s (penalty kills) in overtime, one in the third there,” Crawford continued. “Our guys did a solid job, it was definitely a good test for us.”
Game 2 is set for Friday at the United Center as the Hawks look to further protect home ice while Minnesota searches for a split before going home for games 3 and 4.
There was high anticipation among the 21,428 sellout crowd at the UC as the Hawks began their march towards a second Stanley Cup in four years, but something bizarre occurred during warmups. Minnesota Wild starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom injured himself and was immediately replaced by backup Josh Harding who hasn’t played since January 30th when the Wild defeated the Hawks in a shootout. Could it have been a bad omen for the top-seeded Hawks?
It sort of looked that way in the opening minutes of the most highly anticipated Hawks postseason in quite a long time. The Wild scored the first goal (Cal Clutterbuck – 4:48, first period). The tempo was clearly dictated by the Wild but as the second period began, the Hawks picked up their intensity and scored their first goal courtesy on the power play not long after the first intermission (Marion Hossa – 2:06, second period). The constant talk about the struggling Hawks power play should be silenced for at least one day.
After his shaky start and the goal from Clutterbuck in the opening period, Hawks goalie Corey Crawford settled down and made crucial saves, stopping the remaining 26 shots against him including one in overtime on Wild sniper Zach Parise. As the two teams battled into overtime, the pace widened up from what it was in regulation and there were decent scoring chances developing.
Bickell wound up getting his second career playoff game-winner (game two versus Phoenix in 2012 was his first) but my Game Puck (MVP) for game 1 goes to Hawks center Andrew Shaw, who had seven hits including one late in overtime which helped break free Bickell for his game winner.
WELCOME TO THE PLAYOFFS Hawks fans! Grown those beards and enjoy the ride!
Sidney Brown is a veteran in sports radio, having worked for Sporting News Radio for several years. Sidney has followed hockey since 1993, the year after the Blackhawks lost the Stanley Cup Finals to the Pittsburgh Penguins. A huge Hawks fan, Sidney went to his first game in April of 1999. He proudly owns 14 Hawks jerseys.