For the fourth time in the past six seasons, the Chicago Blackhawks are headed to the Western Conference Finals after eliminating the Minnesota Wild from Stanley Cup contention once again in Tuesday night's Game 6 at Xcel Energy Center. The two teams met last April, where the Blackhawks defeated the Wild in a decisive 4-1 quarterfinal series on their way to their fifth Stanley Cup.
If the postseason pressure is too much for some players (See: Rick Nash) it seems to be the opposite for one Blackhawks winger who is most impressive when it matters the most. In fact, there's nobody better in the business when it comes to lining up two teams after heading into overtime with the possibility of moving on.
Blackhawks' forward Patrick Kane has become synonymous with series-clinching overtime goals for Chicago, registering his third last night to become just the second NHL player in history to do so, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The goal by Kane at 9:42 of the extra period was his fourth overtime game-winner, setting him one goal ahead of Jeremy Roenick for the lead in Blackhawks overtime goal history.
In just seven seasons in the NHL, the 25-year-old has 11 career goals, which includes two hat tricks and three game-winners in potential series-clinching contests.
“It was a weird feeling tonight because at first you didn’t know it was in,” Kane said according to the league’s website. “ It’s a good feeling. It was exciting. It’s exciting to be in on those goals and have something to do with a big win like this.”
After notching two goals in Game 1 against the Wild, the Buffalo native went the next four games without a goal, tallying just one assist in that time. Kane has six goals and four assists through 12 playoff games this Spring.
The Blackhawks are now 11-0 in Games 5-7 through their last six series, dating back to the beginning of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs and are seeking to continue their dominant play on their way to yet another championship
Chicago can find out their Western Conference Finals opponent as early as tonight when the Anaheim Ducks head to Los Angeles in what could be the series ender. The Ducks lead the Kings 3-2 heading into tonight’s Game 6 matchup, coming back from a 2-0 deficit earlier in the series.