The Blackhawks quest for the Stanley Cup began Monday with a 2-1 overtime win over the Minnesota Wild at the United Center. The game winner came off Bryan Bickell’s stick in the extra period.
Even before Jim Cornelison belted out the National Anthem, a mini drama played out at the opening playoff game. Minnesota starting goaltender, Niklas Backstrom, was injured during warm-ups and had to be helped off the ice.
Minnesota coach Mike Yeo called it a "lower body" injury. The Wild had to rely on Josh Harding between the pipes. The 28-year-old goalie played in only five games this season. His last start was in January. (The underlying story this season about Harding is his health. He was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in November. Harding would not comment on his situation, but after the game several Blackhawk players mentioned their admiration for him. During the game, actor Michael J. Fox tweeted, "NHL playoffs! Yes!!! Josh Harding...Great story"
Harding and Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford both had good games with great defense in front of them.