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Bickell bounced back to ignite game-winning goal

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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Bickell bounced back to ignite game-winning goal
Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell had a night of emotional highs and lows, but ultimately it ended with a solid contribution on the game-winning goal.

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell's night of emotional highs and lows included playmaking, nail biting, hoping, praying and celebrating.

"There's going to be games like that," Bickell said from the corner of the dressing room late Saturday night as he proudly sported his Western Conference Championship hat following Chicago's 4-3 double-overtime win over the Los Angeles Kings.

Chicago's biggest forward had an assist on Patrick Kane's first two goals and probably should have gotten one on the double-overtime winner that sent the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup Final to face the Boston Bruins starting Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

However, Bickell also was guilty of icing the puck with 14.4 seconds left in regulation. That set up the faceoff in the Blackhawks' defensive zone that led to Mike Richards' game-tying goal with 9.4 seconds to go.

Bickell also committed the boarding infraction that led to Anze Kopitar's game-tying power-play goal 3:34 into the third period.

And, to make matters even crazier for him, Bickell had to deal with a broken skate in the first overtime that cost him several shifts before he finally got the equipment issue solved.

But there he was along the half-wall, chipping the puck into the neutral zone, past Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, to send Jonathan Toews and Kane on a 2-on-1 they will never forget in Chicago.

Bickell finished the series against Los Angeles with three goals and four assists, at least one point in every game.

"I thought [Bickell] had an amazing series," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "We want him to keep playing like that. Sometimes you get called on it, but we don't want him to change much."

Quenneville is talking about Bickell's occasional on-the-edge physicality, which will be important in the Cup Final against the Bruins. It cost him in Game 5, when he hit Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin in the back and got called for boarding 2:50 into the third period. Kopitar scored 44 seconds later to tie the game 2-2.

"Oh, yeah, I wasn't too happy about that," Bickell said. "I know I was biting my nails in the box. It's a call they've got to call and unfortunately it happened that way. It's history now."

So, too, is his icing that led to Richards' goal. He was watching the puck and wishing it would slow down, but it never did.

"The icing wasn't very good either," Bickell said. "I chipped it and the puck just started rolling. I was like, 'Just fall over so it slows down.' [Dave] Bolland's helmet was right there so I'm like, 'OK, just hit his helmet.' But then I was like, 'Come on.'"

Bickell watched as a Black Ace when the Blackhawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers to win the title in 2010. Despite playing in four games during that playoff run, he did not get his name engraved on the Stanley Cup.

He can this year, but he might have to bite off a few more nails before it can happen.

"Growing up as a kid you want to be a part of it, and it's so surreal," Bickell said. "It's going to be an experience I'll never forget."

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Quote of the Day

It's such a privilege to be one of these 80 great players to do this milestone, and it doesn't get better than this doing it where I started. It means a lot to me. A big thanks goes to all the players tonight who helped me to achieve that and also all the players through my career.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa after scoring his 1,000th career point on Thursday night in Ottawa
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