The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild have been locked in a thrilling series in the Western Conference semifinals, but it was do-or-die for the Wild on Tuesday night in front of their home crowd.
Minnesota was facing elimination down 3-2 in the series, but they were hoping to pull off another win on their home ice to force a Game 7.
Unfortunately for the home crowd, they watched their team eliminated from the postseason with a 2-1 loss in overtime.
Game 6 didn’t get off to the start that Minnesota was hoping for, with Kris Versteeg sneaking the puck past Wild netminder Ilya Bryzgalov for an unassisted goal just two minutes into the game.
Chicago was able to hold onto the lead until the 2:29 mark in the second period, when Matt Cooke and Clayton Stoner assisted Erik Haula for the game-tying goal.
We were all tied up entering the final period, which meant we were set up for an exciting 20 minutes of action to end the game with everything on the line for the Wild and the Blackhawks looking to hang on to the win and advance to the Western Conference Finals for the second consecutive year.
Minnesota had a great chance to take the lead midway through the final period when Nino Niederreiter took the puck to the net and dumped it off to Mikael Granlund. Granlund put the puck on net and had Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford beat, but he came up with nothing but iron on the shot.
The Wild kept the pressure on Minnesota in the following minutes, but Crawford continued to come up with some huge saves for Chicago.
Chicago held off the Minnesota attack and mounted some counter-attacks of their own, but neither side was able to beat the goaltender for a game-winning goal in regulation which sent the game at the Xcel Energy Center in to overtime for the first time this series.
The two teams were in a deadlock throughout the first nine minutes of the overtime period, but the Blackhawks put the pressure on at the midway point where Patrick Kane when forehand-backhand to beat Bryzgalov to give the Blackhawks the win and send them on to the Western Conference Finals where they will take on the winner of the Anaheim Ducks-Los Angeles Kings series.