ST. PAUL, Minn. - Patrick Kane scored on a backhand at 9:40 of overtime to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild in Game 6 to clinch their second-round Western Conference series on Tuesday night.
"He's a special player," coach Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I think guys have that instinct. They have that knack of finding pucks. They want to be there and they want to score and he did his thing."
The simple dump-in by Brent Seabrook took an unusual bounce back toward the slot. The puck slid past Peter Regin but not Kane, who deked once and flipped it into the net.
"It's hard to win, hard to win," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "Sometimes a bounce, sometimes when things are that even sometimes that comes into play."
Erik Haula scored the lone goal for the Wild. It came at 2:29 in the second. It was just another example of the solid play by a young member of this Wild team.
"The leadership that we have, the way that our young kids performed, I am very proud of that," Yeo said.
Yeo was also pleased with the play of Bryzgalov. He stopped 25 shots on the night.
"I am really proud of him, what he brought to our group … This guy was an unbelievable teammate. He came in some really tough situations. He incredibly bought into our team."
The Wild pushed a frenetic pace for much of the night but missed prime chances to score. In the end, both players and coaches managed to find some of the positives.
"We still have to get better. There are some areas where we have to improve, but this is a special group and we are very proud of them," Yeo said.
"It's a good learning experience. It's a tough way to lose but it will make us better in the future ... I think we have a really bright future," defenseman Ryan Suter said.
Kris Versteeg scored the first goal of the game for the Blackhawks at 1:58 of the first. Corey Crawford came up with tough save after tough save among his 34 stops for the Blackhawks.
"Our guys did everything we asked and that's what's hard," Yeo said.
The Blackhawks advance to the Western Conference finals to meet either Anaheim or Los Angeles. Anaheim leads that series 3-2 and Game 6 is Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
For the Wild and its fans, all that can be done is look towards the future.
"It's really hard to win in this league," Yeo said. "That's for sure. We've learned that and that's the first thing you have to learn."