NHL Playoffs

NHL playoffs: Blackhawks, Rangers win wild ones to advance

2014-05-14T00:00:00Z NHL playoffs: Blackhawks, Rangers win wild ones to advanceThe Associated Press The Associated Press
May 14, 2014 12:00 am  • 

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Brent Seabrook fired the puck around the boards where it struck a stanchion and wobbled into the slot.

Blackhawks teammate Peter Regin, engaged in battle with the Wild’s Ryan Suter, skated over the rubber disc and for a brief moment, everyone at Xcel Energy Center held their breath to see who would reach it first.

Of course, Patrick Kane did.

Kane then did what he does best, scooping up the puck, making a forehand-backhand move and flicking it into the top of the net to give the Hawks a stunning 2-1 overtime win over the Wild in Game 6 on Tuesday night. The triumph closed out the best-of-seven, second-round playoff series 4-2 as the Hawks now advance to the Western Conference finals.

Kane’s heroics, of course, were nothing new as his goal marked the fourth time in his career the winger ended a postseason game in overtime and the third time he clinched a series in the process.

“That was a lucky bounce, how it came right to me in the slot,” Kane said. “I just tried to drive hard to the net and hope it came to me. I made a fake, tried to put it in the net and probably put it a little higher than I wanted to.

“But I was happy to see it go in.”

Luck tends to follow Kane when it comes to big moments.

“Whatever it is, if the luck finds me or the heavens above give me blessings in overtime, you keep taking it,” Kane said.

Kane and the Hawks wouldn’t have been in a position to win it in the extra session if not for a remarkable goaltending performance from Corey Crawford, who made 34 saves — including five in OT — to lift the defending Stanley Cup champions on a night when the Wild controlled the pace.

“That was a pretty exciting feeling when that (Kane goal) went in,” Crawford said. “A little relief, too, to get this thing finished.”

Lundqvist saves day for NY

PITTSBURGH — Henrik Lundqvist set an NHL record with his fifth straight Game 7 victory, making 35 saves to lift the New York Rangers to a 2-1 win over Pittsburgh and earn a spot in the Eastern Conference finals.

“I was so tired at the end,” Lundqvist said. “But it was just a great feeling when you know it’s a done deal and we did it.”

Brian Boyle and Brad Richards scored for New York, who rallied from a 3-1 series deficit for the first time in the franchise’s 88-year history.

The Rangers did it behind Lundqvist, who stopped 102 of the final 105 shots he faced over the final three games as New York advanced to the conference finals for the second time in three years.

The three-time All-Star is 10-2 when facing elimination.

He was at his best during a mad scramble in front of the Rangers’ net with just over 5:00 left, when he turned aside three shots from three different angles in seconds to preserve a one-goal lead.

“He was OK with guys being on top of him as long as we didn’t take penalties,” New York defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. “He fought through screens, fought for loose pucks. He was incredible.”

The Rangers will play the winner of the Bruins-Canadiens series in the conference finals. That series is tied 3-3 and Game 7 is Wednesday night in Boston.

Jussi Jokinen scored his team-high seventh goal of the postseason for the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury made 18 saves for the Penguins, who were outscored 10-3 over the final three games.

The Penguins fell to 2-7 all time at home in Game 7s, including three such losses in the past four seasons. This one might have been the most painful for the core of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and coach Dan Bylsma that seemed pointed toward a dynasty after winning the 2009 Stanley Cup.

Crosby, who led the league in scoring and is an MVP finalist, managed just one goal in 13 playoffs games.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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