May 1, 2013
Hawks overcome Harding's heroics to win series opener
By ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell celebrates the game-winning goal as Minnesota Wild's Jonas Brodin skates by during Game 1 of the NHL Western Conference quarterfinals in Chicago, April 30, 2013. (REUTERS/Jim Young)

It didn’t seem fair.

A goalie battling back from multiple sclerosis, who hadn’t started a game in almost three months, thrown in against the powerful Chicago Blackhawks on 15 minutes notice for the opening game of a playoff series.

Some 77 minutes later, it wasn’t.

As it stands, it was a great story was a tough ending.

Forced into action after Nik Backstrom came down with an injury in the pre-game warm-up, Harding lugged his rust and uncertainty into the net at the United Centre and fought for almost four full periods before Bryan Bickell scored with 3:25 left in overtime to give the Blackhawks a series-opening 2-1 victory.

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