Two goals on opposite ends of the spectrum punctuated a nail-biting Day 1 of the NHL playoffs. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick coughed up the puck to surrender Game 1 to the Blues, while Bryan Bickell capitalized on a two-on-one rush to lift the Blackhawks to a series-opening victory.
The overtime excitement in both games highlights our top five stories from Tuesday:
1. Minnesota's goaltenders opened the Stanley Cup playoffs with a dramatic twist, before the puck was even dropped. Wild starting goalie Niklas Backstrom sustained an injury during warmups as he prepared for Game 1 against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. Enter backup Josh Harding, the front-runner for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for his perseverance after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Harding stood tall and faced 37 shots (Danica Patrick's centre ice goal was not one of them) in the Wild's 2-1 overtime loss. Will Harding be Minnesota's knight in shining armour in Backstrom's absence or will the starting goalie return? Find out in Game 2 on Friday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 9:30 p.m. ET.)
2. Chicago's overtime victory came mere moments after St. Louis's own 2-1 OT win over the Los Angeles Kings. The Blues dominated the defending Stanley Cup champions and held a 1-0 lead for most of the game, before Justin Williams tied the game with seconds remaining in the third. Kings netminder Jonathan Quick made 40 saves and helped carry Los Angeles to overtime, but a costly blunder gave Blues winger Alex Steen a wide open net for the winner.
3. It was no wonder hockey fans welcomed the playoffs with open arms on social media, with all the overtime magic here and here. But the Anaheim Ducks didn't need any extra time to defeat the Red Wings 3-1 in Game 1.
4. What are the experts saying about our playoff openers? Hockey Night in Canada commentator Elliotte Friedman says off-season acquisitions Ryan Suter and Zach Parise need to play a key role for the Minnesota Wild to pull off an upset against the Chicago Blackhawks. But in the Chevrolet Post-Game Show, analyst Greg Millen praised the Wild for slowing down the Presidents' Trophy winners on the road.
5. After Phil Kessel pulled a disappearing act and avoided talking to Toronto reporters after practice Monday, Tim Wharnsby writes that the playoff spotlight will find the Leafs sniper, whether he likes it or not. Will Kessel shake the stage fright against the Boston Bruins when the Toronto Maple Leafs make their first post-season appearance in nine years Wednesday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET)?