As he celebrated yet another ridiculous highlight-reel goal to rescue the reeling Blackhawks, Patrick Kane twice yelled “Showtime!”
Kane’s stunning third-period rush through pretty much the entire Wild roster finished with a backhander over the left shoulder of goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov that jump-started the Hawks to a 5-2 victory Friday night at the United Center. The defending Stanley Cup champions drew first blood in Game 1 of the best-of-seven second-round playoff series that will continue Sunday at home.
“Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m saying,” he said of his exclamation. “I was pretty pumped up after that one. You kind of get in your own little world.”
Kane, who later added a second goal, scored shortly after the Hawks had coughed up a 2-0 lead to put them on their heels against an inspired Wild team that was playing less than 48 hours after advancing to the second round with a Game 7 victory over the Avalanche on Wednesday.
“It was a good play by (Patrick) Sharp to throw it over to my side,” Kane said of the score that led to three consecutive Hawks goals to put away the Wild. “I had some time and space so I tried to cut through the middle. It was one of those plays where I was about to drop it to (Sharp), but I saw both defensemen go to him so I just tried to get in on the backhand and made a good shot and it went in.”
That it came in a situation where the Wild had all the momentum in front of a suddenly subdued crowd of 22,116 made the effort that much more special.
“We could have played a little bit better,” Kane said. “We had a little time off and sometimes you rest and relax a little bit and you come back and don’t have the best effort that you should. We have to better in Game 2. They’re a good team (and) you have to give them credit.”
In addition to Kane’s two scores, Bryan Bickell had two goals, Marian Hossa a goal and two assists and Sharp and Brent Seabrook two assists each to make a winner of goaltender Corey Crawford.
With the Hawks holding what appeared to be a commanding two-goal lead in the third period, Clayton Stoner and Kyle Brodziak scored to make it 2-2. But Kane snapped that tie, and the offense kept coming to make a loser of Bryzgalov, who was starting in place of the injured Darcy Kuemper.
The Hawks killed off all three Wild power plays to improve to 30-for-32 in the playoffs after shutting down the Blues during man advantages in Round 1.
“We had some more great kills,” said Crawford, who had 30 saves. “Our guys are doing an unbelievable job on the penalty kill and special teams was a factor again.
“I don’t know what else you can say about ‘Kaner.’ That guy turns a lot of games around for us. After giving up the lead, he makes another great play to get us right back. He’s definitely a difference-maker.”
Said Stoner: “We had the momentum and things were going our way. A good team like that, they have players who can take the game over.
“We have to know that and just be aware.”
One downside to the victory was a first-period injury to forward Andrew Shaw, who left the ice limping after a big hit from Stoner and did not return.
After the game, Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said Shaw was “day to day.”
By Chris Kuc