Hawks take the panic out of pressure

CHICAGO -- When Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom left the ice with an injury before the game started, Chicago Blackhawks fans probably expected an easy win over backup goalie Josh Harding.

Maybe the Blackhawks did, too.

The last time the Hawks faced Harding on Jan. 30, he was pulled from the game after two goals in the first seven minutes. Harding, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the fall, hasn't started a game since then, and played only twice.

But this is the playoffs, after all, and in the NHL it's often hard to tell the seeds apart, let alone the dominant goaltenders (read: Corey Crawford) from the benchwarmers.

That's why everyone loves the Stanley Cup playoffs. The game begins with a goalie change and ends with Bryan Bickell celebrating an overtime goal.

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