Blackhawks playoff run
The Chicago Blackhawks had an interesting ride through the Western Conference playoffs on their way to the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals. Finishing the regular season as the No. 1 seed in the West, Chicago easily ousted the Minnesota Wild in the first round, 3-1, and outscored Minnesota 17-7. Minnesota’s starting goaltender, Niklas Backstrom, suffered an injury during warmups for Game 1, and the Hawks had no problem getting the puck past backup Josh Harding, who saw his first playoff action as a starter.
The Blackhawks faced some unexpected adversity in the second round against the seventh-seeded Detroit Red Wings. After blowing out the Wings 4-1 in the first game of the series, Detroit proceeded to take the next three games and put the top seeded Hawks on the brink of elimination. But Chicago rallied, winning the next two games to force a Game 7 at home. Brent Seabrook capitalized on a Detroit miscue to win the game, and the series, in overtime.
Chicago marched on to the Western Conference Finals vs. the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings, who were looking to become the first NHL team to successfully defend the Cup since the 1997-98 Red Wings. Despite losing top defenseman Duncan Keith to a suspension for Game 4, the Hawks used their strength and speed to spoil the Kings’ chance of repeating, taking down the Kings as well as goaltender Jonathan Quick, the reigning Conn Smythe trophy winner as the 2012 playoffs MVP.
After a tight Game 5 in which the Kings tied the game with less than 10 seconds left in the third period, Patrick Kane scored 11:40 into the second overtime to send Chicago to the Finals. The Hawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010.