On this date in Blackhawks history: Chicago eliminates Wild in overtime, returns to Western Conference Final
Patrick Kane scored the game-winning goal, and Corey Crawford made 34 saves.
With the NHL on pause and the World Championship tournament canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Second City Hockey will look back at Blackhawks playoff games since 2010 with an “On this date in Blackhawks history” series.
Patrick Kane scored on his backhand 9:42 into overtime, and the Blackhawks eliminated the Wild for a second straight year with a 2-1 win to clinch their second-round Western Conference series.
Brent Seabrook’s dump-in took a funky bounce back toward the slot and slid past Peter Regin, who was tied up with Ryan Suter, but not Kane, who deked once and flipped it top shelf into the net.
Kris Versteeg scored 1:58 into the game, and Corey Crawford made 34 saves for the Blackhawks, who advanced to the Western Conference Final for the second straight year and third time in five years.
Erik Haula scored and Ilya Bryzgalov made 25 saves for Minnesota, which lost in the second round for the first time in franchise history.
Versteeg gave Chicago a 1-0 lead when he outmuscled Keith Ballard for possession of the puck in the right corner and flipped a shot below the goal line that redirected off Clayton Stoner’s left leg and past Bryzgalov.
Minnesota had a prime chance to tie it at 4:52 when Keith Ballard’s blast from the right point when off Crawford’s right pad and into the crease, but Sheldon Brookbank swept the puck away before Charlie Coyle could get to it.
Matt Cooke banked a pass off the boards from Minnesota’s zone to create a breakaway for the speedy Haula, who beat Johnny Oduya to the puck then snapped a shot past Crawford’s glove to tie it 1-1 at 2:29 of the second period.
The Wild continued to push the pace, but Crawford and the Blackhawks answered. Crawford made a save on a Justin Fontaine breakaway, and kicked off Jason Pominville’s blast that bounced off Oduya toward an open net before the defenseman corralled the puck before it crossed the goal line.
Oduya then sent a stretch pass to Patrick Sharp, who was denied on the breakaway by Bryzgalov. On the next shift, Crawford made a save with his right shoulder on another Fontaine breakaway and covered up the rebound.
With seven minutes remaining in the second, Peter Regin made a big defensive play when he swatted away Pominville’s attempt to knock in a rebound into a half-empty net.
Cody McCormick tried a spin move on a breakaway to fend off Duncan Keith and nearly got the puck past Crawford, who made a left pad save.
Six minutes into the third period, Brookbank turned the puck over in Chicago’s zone to Haula, who sent a cross-ice pass to Pominville but Brookbank recovered and made a diving stop to prevent a shot.
Chicago frustrated Minnesota by killing three penalties, including two in the third period, and finished 18-for-20 on the penalty kill in the series.