Michael Russo @Russostrib
Could be a big story brewing here. Niklas Backstrom left the ice during warmups #mnwild4/30/2013, 11:41:20 PM
The 2013 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs began with a thriller in the Windy City. Top-seeded Chicago survived a major scare from upstart Minnesota, prevailing 2-1 in overtime.
The Blackhawks overcame the Western Conference's eighth-seeded squad when Bryan Bickell beat Wild goalie Josh Harding with an excellent move to his right. Teammate Viktor Stalberg set up the game-winner with an excellent inside feed.
Despite ending up on the wrong side of the scoreboard, Harding was the story of the night. He made was sensational throughout his first playoff start after Minnesota goalkeeper Niklas Backstrom suffered a leg injury during pregame preparations.
Harding stopped 35 shots but his counterpart, Corey Crawford, kept Chicago alive with crucial stops during the game's late stages. A valiant effort by Minnesota but it's the Blackhawks who start this series with a win.
Chicago 2, Minnesota 1 (overtime)
Blackhawks lead series 1-0