CHICAGO - Showtime.
When the Chicago Blackhawks needed something – anything – to regain momentum, Patrick Kane provided it in a manner that even Magic Johnson and the Los Angelers Lakers would applaud.
Michael Jordan would, too, in the house he built.
Kane's highlight-reel goal to break a deadlock and serve as the winner in Friday's 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild not only gave the Blackhawks first blood in their best-of-seven second-round NHL playoff series.
It dropped the jaws of darn near everyone in the United Center, had tongues wagging – and elicited Twitter responses – across the NHL and has now given him a new nickname.
“Showtime,” was what Kane said to his teammates in the celebration.
You bet that will become a big catchphrase in the Windy City.
It was a big-time play at the most important of moments.
Moments after the Wild erased a two-goal deficit in the final frame, Kane gained the puck in the neutral zone, zipped around the pair of defencemen trying to keep him in check and roofed a top-corner backhand past Ilya Bryzgalov.
If that's not enough, Kane even provided the insurance goal moments later.
Game 2 will be Sunday afternoon.
The Wild had high hopes the momentum gained from the thrilling seven-game series win over the Colorado Avalanche that ended Wednesday would carry over, but Bryan Bickell continued his annual spring-time scoring to put the hosts on the board to the delight of the United Center crowd of 22,116.
While the Hawks were on the power play thanks to a double-minor assessed to Jonas Brodin and seconds after Zach Parise was denied on a shorthanded breakaway chance, Brent Seabrook unloaded a point shot that Bickell redirected in front of the net for his third tally of the playoffs.
Marian Hossa doubled the lead midway through the second period, at a time the visitors were buzzing.
Hossa was on the spot for another power-play goal – another while Brodin was in the sin bin for a high stick – easily hitting the mark on a nearly open net created by Brandon Saad's cross-ice pass.
To think, the Blackhawks netted only two man-advantage markers in the whole first-round series against the St. Louis Blues.
Making it worse for the Wild was the fact Minnesota outshot the Hawks 17-3 in the period and surrendered only one shot in the final 17 minutes of the frame, Hossa's goal. In fact, Chicago went nearly 28 minutes with only three shots on goal.
But the Wild weren't done and dusted, and that perseverance paid off with a third-period comeback that began just past the two-minute mark during a crazy scramble.
Hawks goalie Corey Crawford could only get a piece of Clayton Stoner's point shot, and the puck dribbled past him into the crease, where it went off the skate of defenceman Johnny Oduya and trickled just over the line.
Kyle Brodziak evened the count a few minutes later, finishing off a pretty play created by Dany Heatley's forechecking effort.
Bickell iced the game with an empty netter.
The lone disappointment for the Blackhawks is that third-line centre Andrew Shaw left the game midway through the first period. He was limping after being on the receiving end of a hard Stoner check.
Crawford finished with 31 saves it the win.
On Twitter: @SunRandySportak