Blackhawks 2, Minnesota 1 (OT)
The Blackhawks have begun the chase for the Stanley Cup, and RedEye is covering their journey through the eyes of the fans. First up, the Game 1 overtime win over the Wild, as told by season-ticket holder Scott King, a Blackhawks blogger for ChicagoNow who attended the game with his wife, father and grandmother.
Scott King, 28, Gold Coast
Heading into Game 1, I was a little nervous. Everything went well for the Hawks this year. They worked really hard and they deserved all their success. But it seemed like a lot of people were taking the Wild lightly. They got those big stars, [Zach] Parise and [Ryan] Suter, in the offseason, and I knew that they have a lot of young guys who can play hard. This first game is huge, so I wanted them to definitely win this one.
So we go in there and get the playoff towels, which is a great keepsake. We sit down and watch warm-ups. They're looking good. Guys are shooting really well. [Patrick] Sharp and [Marian] Hossa were shooting well. There was a certain something in the air. You could tell it was a playoff game. After they did the anthem, the place went crazy. It was awesome.
They came out a little slow. Not just their stars, but everyone. They looked off. It took them until the second to find their legs. But they started battling back in the second, and toward the end of the second, you could see the fans really getting into it. We were getting really excited. We knew that they might not have been playing their best, but they still had a chance to win. This was the game they needed. You don't want to go down in the series after they were out early the last two years. You want to get this first game. I've never heard the United Center go so crazy as it was in the third period of that game.
I'll tell you about the last play. From where we sit, when the puck's down on one side, you can only kind of see it, and in overtime the Hawks were shooting at our end. It was down in the Hawks' defensive zone, and we see [Johnny] Oduya. It looks like he's just clearing the puck, but what he does was he bounces it off the top of the glass. It goes all the way down almost the length of the entire rink – one of the best passes I've seen all year – to [Viktor] Stalberg. Stalberg passes it to [Bryan] Bickell. And Bickell puts it between the legs of [Minnesota backup goaltender Josh] Harding.
The place went insane. The players were all jumping on top of each other. Me and my wife did our victory kiss, hugged, high-fived my dad and grandma. We were on a high all night after the game. I don't remember the last time I had that much fun at the United Center. My wife and I were there a lot in 2010, and I don't remember people going that crazy. In the third, when it was tied, and they had the puck in the Wild's zone, they were taking a faceoff down there, and the place was just going crazy. Everyone was standing up in the middle of the period. Usually you only stand for shootouts, or at the end of the period, or when someone gets a breakaway maybe. But everyone was on their feet going crazy for the first playoff game of the postseason. It was a really great experience.
Jack M Silverstein is a RedEye special contributor. Say hey @readjack.
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