Blackhawks Win Playoff Opener in OT
Blackhawks Beat Calgary 3-2 - Take One Game to None Lead
Blackhawks Win Playoff Opener in OT (AP)
Martin Havlat scored 12 seconds into overtime to lift the Blackhawks over the Flames in Game One of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
After tying it late in regulation, Havlat drove a wrist shot past Miikka Kiprusoff from between the circles for the third-fastest overtime goal in playoff history, sending a towel-waving crowd at the United Center into a frenzy.
Mike Cammalleri gave Calgary a 2-1 lead about 4 minutes into the final period when he scored on a 2-on-1 break, taking a nice pass from Daymond Langkow.
But the Blackhawks got even with 5:33 left when Havlat scored on his own rebound after Kiprusoff stopped his initial shot from the right circle.
Cam Barker also scored to help Hawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin out-duel the Flames' Miikka Kiprusoff for the victory.
The more experienced Flames took an early advantage on a David Moss goal at the 8-minute-38-second mark of the first period. After Craig Conroy's shot created a goal-mouth scramble, Moss eventually poked the puck past Khabibulin.
The Hawks gained some momentum late in the period after killing off a four-minute high-sticking penalty on captain Jonathan Toews. Barker knotted the score at 1-1 at the 13:17 mark of the second on a shot Kiprusoff no doubt wishes he had back.
After Barker's initial shot was blocked by a sliding Eric Nystrom, the defenseman corralled the puck and sent a shot from the outside of the left circle that skipped past Kiprusoff on the stick side. Calgary took a 2-1 lead on Michael Cammalleri's goal at 3:54 of the third.
Teammate Daymond Langkow broke in two-on-one with Cammalleri and sent a pass past a sliding Matt Walker to Cammalleri, who beat Khabibulin from the left side. Havlat knocked in a rebound of his own shot from the bottom of the right circle to tie the game at 2-2 with 5:33 remaining in the third.
The game featured some intense checking, but any fears the Flames would come out and manhandle the younger, less experienced Hawks were allayed early as Brent Seabrook and Dustin Byfuglien countered any Calgary hits with ones of their own. "We have to be physical," Flames star Jarome Iginla said before the game.
"They can be very offensive and dynamic and we have to make sure their scoring chances are harder to come by than during the regular season." The regular season was when the Hawks defeated the Flames in all four games but that was then and this is the postseason when the intensity level is much higher.
"There are some guys here who haven't had playoff experience," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "That's going to be our challenge that we have to get some experience as we progress here. We have some key personnel that have been through the battles and know what it takes in the playoffs and hopefully they can help us."
The Hawks are making their 54th postseason appearance in franchise history but just the second time since 1997. "They haven't had playoff hockey here for a while so being a part of that is going to be special," Quenneville said. "Every year you begin the playoffs the first game is always special. It seems like it's got renewed emotion and great hope."
Game 2 is Saturday night at the United Center. You can hear every second of Blackhawk playoff action on News/Talk 720, WGN and at wgnradio.com.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)