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Cullen: Blackhawks chase Quick, cruise to Game Two win

Scott Cullen
6/3/2013 12:08:06 AM
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The Chicago Blackhawks jumped out to a 4-0 lead before the midway point of the second period and coasted to a 4-2 win in Game Two against the Los Angeles Kings, taking a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Final.

When Michal Handzus buried Chicago's fourth goal, on 17 shots, giving the Blackhawks a 4-0 lead, Quick gave way to backup Jonathan Bernier. Quick has been spectacular in both this year's and last year's playoffs, going 34 straight games without giving up more than three goals, so for the Blackhawks to get four in less than half a game was stunning.

Not only did the Blackhawks jump out to that 4-0 lead, but they did so on goals from Andrew Shaw, Brent Seabrook, Bryan Bickell and Michal Handzus. It's one thing to have complementary scorers supporting the big guns in the postseason, but when the complementary guys are doing all the scoring, that's a bonus.

All of those players have been valuable contributors to Chicago's playoff run, but Shaw (7 PTS, plus-3 in 14 GP) and Bickell (6 G, 8 PTS, plus-2 in 14 GP) are standing out as secondary contributors for the Blackhawks.

Patrick Sharp had a couple of assists for the Blackhawks, giving him a team-leading 14 points in 14 playoff games.

The Blackhawks took advantage of their early lead to spread the ice time around, RW Patrick Kane played 15:25, his lowest total since December 5, 2010, when he suffered an ankle injury on his first shift of a game against Calgary.

Kings C Mike Richards, out with an upper body injury suffered on a hit by David Bolland late in Game One, didn't play in Game Two leaving Jeff Carter to center Dustin Penner and Tyler Toffoli on the Kings' second line. It turned out that the trio was the Kings' best of the night, with Carter and Toffoli scoring the Kings' goals. Toffoli also assisted on Carter's goal.

Shifting to centre wasn't a problem for Carter. He was 11-for-15 (73.3%) on faceoffs and he recorded a team-high five shots on goal.

D Slava Voynov assisted on both Kings goals, giving him nine points in 15 playoff games. He also had six hits, tying LW Kyle Clifford (who did it in 7:55) for the team lead in Game Two.

If the Kings want to take any positives from this game, they did actually play well in the first period, despite falling behind 2-0, and they did score on the power play. It was the first time the Blackhawks had surrendered a power play goal at home this postseason.

The Kings have been much better at home in the postseason, so all is not lost just because they dropped the first two games in Chicago, but they will obviously need to come out with a big effort when they return to L.A. for Game Three.

From the Blackhawks' perspective, they can keep on keeping on, as they've played well in five straight wins, but three of Chicago's four losses in the postseason have come on the road, so the odds naturally shift depending on location. That's hardly unusual, but worth noting before there is too much doom and gloom from the on one side and a temptation to look ahead on the other.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.




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