May 3, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Michael Frolik (67) is congratulated by his teammates for scoring a goal against the Minnesota Wild during the second period in game two of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Blackhawks came out very rusty in the first period of Game 1, and it was apparent that they didn’t plan on starting out Game 2 in the same fashion. The Hawks came out flying getting shots on goal and maintaining a huge puck possession advantage. Early on it looked as though Patrick Kane had scored the opening goal but the replay showed that he clearly kicked in the goal. In Game One the Minnesota Wild blocked 21 shots, but in the first period the Hawks were getting shots on net against Wild goalie Josh Harding. The simple plan finally paid off when a Andrew Shaw shot was deflected, but the puck fell right on the stick of Michael Frolik who put it top shelf for a 1-0 Blackhawks lead. The Hawks continued to dominated the period including an almost highlight reel play by Viktor Stalberg where he weaved in and out for nearly 20 seconds before feeding it to Bryan Bickell who didn’t get all of if and Harding made the save. The only disappointing part of the first period was after the Bickell shot the Hawks went on the man advantage and seemed to kill their momentum on a below average 2 minute man advantage. The Hawks out shot the Wild 17-7 but the scoreboard only read 1-0 Hawks even though it felt like it should be at least 3-0.
The Hawks continued to get very strong play from their bottom lines. The Hawk got their second power play of the game but came up empty handed without much action to the dismay of the United Center faithful. The crowd then saw the Wild get their first powerplay of the night and had a lot to cheer about when Michael Frolik scored short-handed to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead. The Wild started opening it up and was able to get plenty more shots on goals and actually lead the second period shots on goal 15-14. In what could have been the turning point of the game Patrick Kane fed a wide open Toews in front of the net, but the Captain put in Harding’s pads which kept the score stuck at 2-0. The Hawks have been a very different team in the first two games of the playoffs hitting everything which included Patrick Sharp delivering the biggest hit I’ve ever seen him deliver. Late in the 2nd period Brent Seabrook ill advised pinch created an odd man advantage that Devin Setoguchi capitalized on to cut the Hawks lead to 2-1 when the horn sounded for intermission.
Even though it seemed like the Wild stole momentum at the end of the 2nd period it wouldn’t last long in the third period with Patrick Sharp scoring two goals to finish off the Wild. The first goal for Sharp came after a Kane pass found Michal Handzus in the slot but he couldn’t get the puck out of his skates and the puck found Sharp who made a great shot in the top corner for a 3-1 lead. The second Sharp goal came on a great back-handed blind pass from Kane which gave Sharp a wide open net to score. Kane also put on a spin-0-rama to boot and seems to be getting back to the Kane that opened up the season. After a late Minnesota goal Byran Bickell with some great hustle knocked in the open netter to finish the scoring at 5-2.
The real star of the game was Corey Crawford who made some great saves and really saved the defense at times. Crawford stopped 28-30 shots and Crawford has only allowed 3 goals in the first two games and he is starting to look like a #1 goalie. Josh Harding wasn’t as sharp as Game 1 but still made 43 saves on 48 shots.
The Hawks now head to Minnesota Sunday for Game #3 up 2 games to none which is just what the doctor ordered in the first round of the playoffs.
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