There was plenty of drama in Chicago Tuesday night for the opening game of the Minnesota Wild's best-of-seven playoff series against the Blackhawks.
Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom was injured during pregame warmups, forcing head coach Mike Yeo to start Josh Harding, who ended up playing his best game of the season.
It took overtime to decide the tightly contested game, and it was Bryan Bickell scoring the winning goal at 16:35 of the first overtime for the 2-1 victory.
Minnesota surprised the Blackhawks with the first goal of the game, scored by Cal Clutterbuck on sniper-esque shot that was somewhat similar to his goal in last week's win over the Kings.
The Wild took the 1-0 lead into the second period until Patrick Kane weaved through the Minnesota defense and slid a beautiful pass through the slot to Marian Hossa for the game-tying goal. It came at the tail end of a power play.
The final 37:54 of regulation was a back-and-forth affair with plenty of big saves by Harding and Chicago netminder Corey Crawford.
Tension hit a game-high in the final two minutes of the third period when Chicago made a 5-on-5 game look like a power play as they peppered Harding with shot-after-shot, but Harding stood tall and held the Hawks at bay, forcing overtime.
Harding finished with 35 saves. Crawford stopped 26 for Chicago.
Game two will be back in Chicago Friday night at 8:30 p.m. CT.
Note: Minnesota will practice at the Xcel Energy Center Wednesday and Thursday before flying back to the Windy City Thursday afternoon; Backstrom's injury is being called a "lower-body injury."