The Chicago Blackhawks have opened both of their postseason series with a win thus far. What happened next didn’t work out so well for them last time.
There was no letdown in Game 2, because there was no let-up.
The Hawks detonated offensively, chased Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and walked out of the United Center on Sunday with a 4-2 win and 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference finals.
Andrew Shaw and Brent Seabrook scored in the first period, with Bryan Bickell and Michal Handzus adding second-period goals to send Quick — last year’s Conn Smythe Trophy winner — to the bench at the 9:20 mark, replaced by backup Jonathan Bernier.
Corey Crawford made 29 saves for the Hawks, allowing only a second-period goal to Jeff Carter and then a power play score with 62 seconds remaining.
Shaw broke through not two minutes into the proceedings.
The sequence began with a strong win along the boards by defenseman Nick Leddy, collected by Brandon Saad and then flipped to Viktor Stalberg in the high slot. Stalberg sent a nifty backhand pass to Shaw streaking in alone, and a wrister to the low glove side beat the Kings’ Jonathan Quick for the 1-0 lead at the 1:56 mark.
The Kings enjoyed plenty of offensive zone time and one power play in between but came up empty. After that was over, Seabrook continued his relatively hot scoring touch by beating Quick on another shot the purportedly unbeatable Kings goalie should have stopped.
Seabrook skated into the zone and took a drop-off from Marian Hossa, then unleashed a wrister low and to Quick’s stick side. The Kings goalie had a clean look but couldn’t make the save, and Seabrook had his second goal in three games while the Hawks had a 2-0 lead at the 19:09 mark.
The Kings offered some unintended help during a power play that made it a three-goal game.
A Patrick Sharp blast from the point was stopped in front of Quick, and a scrum ensued, with Bickell in the middle of it. But hacking at the puck, the Kings’ Robyn Regehr appeared to knock the puck past his own goalie and into his own net, with Bickell getting the credit and the 3-0 lead at the 7:11 mark.
Then it was Handzus who put an end to Quick’s night, with the veteran moving in on a 2-on-1 with Sharp and burying a score for the four-goal lead. Slowly and to the full-throated delight of the United Center crowd, Quick skated to the bench for the evening.
The Kings finally got on the board with a Jeff Carter score late in the second period, when the Hawks couldn’t clear the zone after a faceoff and Carter beat Crawford top shelf from the faceoff circle. Then Tyler Toffoli ended the Hawks’ perfect penalty kill streak at home by scoring with 1:02 left to make it a 4-2 game.
The Hawks received a huge break even before puck drop, when Kings center Mike Richards was a late scratch from the lineup. Richards was creamed by Dave Bolland in the final moments of Game 1 and came out for warmups and took shots before Game 2, but clearly wasn’t in condition to go.