CHICAGO -- Bryan Bickell lofted a backhander past Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding, giving the Chicago Blackhawks a 2-1 overtime win in Game 1 of the teams' Western Conference quarterfinal series.
Bickell tallied his fifth career playoff goal at 16:35 following a picture-perfect centering pass from teammate Viktor Stalberg. Bickell took the pass across the goal crease and beat Harding.
Despite the result, Harding played an exceptional game after being pressed into emergency service when Wild regular goalie Niklas Backstrom was a late scratch. Backstrom apparently was injured during the pregame warmup.
The Blackhawks struggled throughout the game with several missed passes and had difficulty transitioning from defense to offense.
Credit has to be given, though, to Harding, who kept the Hawks off-balance, stopping one shot after another.
The game was a low-shot affair during the first two periods, as the Blackhawks managed six shots in the first period and 10 in the second, while the Wild had six in the first and seven in the second.
In the end, the Blackhawks outshot the Wild 37-27.
Corey Crawford made 26 saves for the Blackhawks, who were also missing a goalie. The team announced that Ray Emery will continue to be sidelined with a lower-body injury that he suffered in the first period of a game at Edmonton last Wednesday.
Although the Blackhawks would not reveal details of the injury, some reports claim that it may be a groin issue. Other reports indicated that Emery might be out for an extended period.
Crawford had a less than auspicious start. Minnesota took an early 1-0 lead at 4:49 of the first period when Cal Clutterbuck slammed a 30-foot slap shot from the left circle past Crawford.
The Blackhawks kept pounding at Harding late in the first period and into the second, finally scoring when Patrick Kane gave a perfect feed to Marian Hossa, who pushed a 10-foot power-play shot to tie the game at 1-1 at 2:23.
NOTES: This is the first postseason meeting between the Wild and Blackhawks. ... Minnesota entered the night with a 27-18-3 edge in the all-time regular-season series. ... The Wild are making their first playoff appearance in five seasons and only the fourth overall in team history. ... With Emery sidelined, Henrik Karlsson was listed as the Blackhawks' backup goalie. Karlsson did not see any regular-season action with the Hawks, having played the entire season with their farm team in Rockford, Ill. ... Chicago allowed the fewest goals of any team in the NHL this season, 97. ... Chicago's .802 points percentage during the regular season was the fifth best in NHL history. ... Tuesday marked the Blackhawks' 215th consecutive United Center home sellout (including playoffs), the longest current sellout streak of any team in the NHL. ... The Blackhawks posted a 2-0-1 record against the Wild during the lockout-shortened regular season. ... Attendance was 21,428. ... NASCAR star Danica Patrick was in attendance at the game and took part in a shooting contest between the second and third periods. She impressively made her first shot from center ice, but then missed the last three. Patrick grew up in Roscoe, Ill., about 90 miles northwest of Chicago, just north of Rockford.