The Blackhawks' Bryan Bickell (top), Viktor Stalberg (middle) and Andrew Shaw (bottom begin the celebration after Bickell's goal in the first overtime gave the Hawks a 2-1 win. The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Minnesota Wild 2-1 in overtime in their first game of the first playoff series April 30, 2013 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: June 2, 2013 6:35AM
Bryan Bickell was the right player at the right place at the right time. But it’s probably more than just chance that he was the Blackhawks’ hero Tuesdsay night.
Bickell took a nice feed from Viktor Stalberg on a sudden two-on-on rush and beat upstart Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding with a nifty forehand-to-backhand move to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 overtime victory and a 1-0 lead in their Western Conference quarterfinal.
“Stolly made a great pass over to me. I usually don’t pull those kind of moves, but it worked today,” Bickell said. “I don’t practice that [scoring move] much. I knew [Harding] would be sliding. I see [Patrick Kane] do it all the time. Maybe it’s flashbacks from different moves he makes. I know it went in and I was happy.”
The Kane-like move by the 6-4, 233-pound Bickell might have been a surprise, but the Hawks are getting used to Bickell’s
The game-winner was his fifth playoff goal — and each of them has come in a victory. In 2011, he scored the first goal of Game 4 against Vancouver to start the comeback from a 3-0 series deficit. He scored in Game 6 of that series to help send it to a seventh game. Last year he scored twice in a Game 2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes — including the game-winner in overtime off a feed from Stalberg.
“He had a nice finish with his deke,” coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘He’s one of those players who can make a difference game-in and game-out with his size and quickness. He was representative of our whole team tonight.’’
The winning goal was a well-deserved finish for the Hawks’ third line of Bickell, Stalberg and Andrew Shaw. They had a dominant 5-on-5 shift in the third period that looked like a power play but could not score. But the momentum had clearly shifted the Hawks’ way.
A big hit by Shaw on the Wild’s Torrey Mitchell behind the Hawks’ net started the winning rally. Oduya flipped the puck off the boards to Stalberg, who streaked down the right side and centered the puck to Bickell, who was open between the circles.
‘‘I figured Bicks would try to come somewhere there and I pulled up and found him and he made one of the nicer plays he’s going to make in his career,’’ Stalberg said. ‘‘It’s a poised finish by him. I didn’t expect him to make that move, but it was a great finish and we’re happy to get this first win at home.’’