The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

May 14, 2014

Blackhawks' bid to repeat rolls on

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks know that holding on to the Stanley Cup isn't going to be easy.

They wouldn't have it any other way.

Patrick Kane scored on a backhand at 9:42 of overtime to lift the Blackhawks to a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals on Tuesday night, moving one step closer to defending their title.

They needed to come back from a 2-0 deficit to beat St. Louis in the first series and were pushed hard by the upstart Wild in Round 2. They will meet either Anaheim or Los Angeles in the Western Conference finals. Anaheim leads that series 3-2 and Game 6 is Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

"It was a very competitive series," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Both these series were tight, tough, demanding. But certainly you get a break here about what we accomplished. We should be excite about what we've achieved, enjoy the break, knowing we have a very tough opponent coming up."

Kris Versteeg scored at 1:58 of the first and Corey Crawford made 34 saves for the Blackhawks, who are 14-0 in Games 5 or 6 of playoff series that were tied after Game 4. They're also 12-2 in games with a chance to win a series, including 6-1 on the road.

The Blackhawks were outplayed for much of the series and frustrated by Minnesota's tight checking and speed in transition that limited them to fewer than 22 shots in four of the six games. But the veterans were able to cash in on the few opportunities that presented themselves, especially in Game 6.

"I don't know what it is against this team; we never really seem to play our best, whether dating back to last year's playoffs or even this year," said Kane, whose Blackhawks beat the Wild 4-1 in the first round last year. "We still feel we have another level to get to. It's exciting to say you didn't play your best and you still won a series in the second round of the playoffs. That's a positive thing going forward."

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