Early in the second period of a scoreless game, Pierre McGuire noted from between the benches that Jonathan Toews barked at his teammates while coming off for a line change. Toews wanted the Hawks to attack, according to McGuire.
As Toews has so many times in the past, he led with his actions as much as his words.
After Andrew Shaw took his obligatory stupid penalty, Marian Hossa picked Ryan Suter’s pocket and flew up the ice. Hossa found Toews in the middle of the ice, and Chicago’s captain shot a puck off Devan Dubnyk that popped into the air and appeared to get hit just hard enough to cross the line completely… by Dubnyk’s stick. The short-handed goal was Toews fourth of the postseason and gave Chicago a 1-0 lead.
As the second period crept towards completion, a delayed offside play forced Minnesota’s forward to vacate the zone. Duncan Keith took advantage, hurling a perfect outlet pass to Patrick Kane who rifled a shot past Dubnyk to extend the lead to two with only 20 seconds left in the period.
The goal was Kane’s fourth of the postseason and 100th career postseason point. It wouldn’t be his last of the night, however.
Matt Dumba scored a power play goal early on the third period, one that Corey Crawford would undoubtedly like to have back. For 6:19 the Wild stayed within one, but Teuvo Teravainen made a special play in the neutral zone and banked a pass to Patrick Sharp to get the Hawks sniper into the zone. Sharp handled the business end for his fourth of the playoffs to extend the lead to 3-1, and effectively end the threat from Minnesota.
Kane would add an empty net goal at 17:53 to take the team lead with five postseason goals; Sharp picked up the primary assist on the final goal of the night.
Crawford took a shot off the mask soon after Sharp’s goal and appeared to be in some discomfort; he rocked back and clutched the posts for assistance as he got back to his feet and immediately went to the bench when play stopped. But Crawford only changed from his new mask to an old one and stayed in the game.
After answering questions about whether or not he could be the number one goaltender in Chicago during the first round of the playoffs, Crawford has been strong against the Wild. He allowed the one ugly goal but made 30 stops, many of which were against excellent chances over the final 40 minutes of the game. Crawford has stopped 60 of 64 shots over the first two games against the Wild, and heard his named chanted by the United Center faithful again on Sunday night.
Niklas Hjalmarsson picked up an assist with two blocked shots and two hits in another strong performance from the Hawks’ top three defensemen. Keith skated 30:12 in the win; Kimmo Timonen was on the ice for only 6:57.
Bryan Bickell’s box score shows a lot of activity – a team-leading 12 hits and two blocked shots – but he looked lost for a lot of his time on the ice. His physical play has been rewarded with increased ice time over the first two games of the series; he skated 16:09 on Sunday night on the Hawks second line with Kane and Brad Richards.
Chicago rolled all four lines comfortably and looked good doing it. Antoine Vermette played another really good game between Sharp and Teravainen, winning 11 of 16 faceoffs and picked up five hits. Richards was the ice time leader among Hawks forwards at 18:21 while Teravainen skated the lowest ice time (12:41) up front.
The Blackhawks take their 2-0 series lead to the State of Hockey for Game Three.