Kings vs. Blackhawks Game 2 recap: Chicago chases Quick, takes 2-0 series lead

USA TODAY Sports

The Blackhawks made it a perfect weekend by winning two games at home on Saturday and Sunday.

The Chicago Blackhawks scored early and never looked back in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final, winning 4-2 and opening a 2-0 series lead over the Los Angeles Kings.

Playing on back-to-back nights, the Hawks had an easier time of it than they had in their 2-1 victory in Game 1, which they dominated despite the close score.

Andrew Shaw opened scoring just 1:56 into the game after a turnover in the Kings' zone:

Chawksgoal1_medium

Though the Kings appeared to wake up after that, they came up empty on a power play with Brent Seabrook in the box, and Seabrook made them pay. He scored on the rush with 51 seconds left in the first period, giving Chicago a 2-0 lead that has been almost insurmountable for the low-scoring Kings in these playoffs:

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In the second period it was more of the same. The Hawks made it 3-0 on a Bryan Bickell goal that Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr actually knocked in his own net:

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When Michal Handzus scored on a two-on-one to make it 4-0, that was all for Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, so often the hero during these playoffs.

The reasons for the Kings' struggles were many:

  • No offense. Though they mounted a better showing than in Game 1, the Kings still exhibited the most tepid offense in these playoffs. They have scored more than three goals only twice in the postseason and have just 28 goals in 15 games.
  • The Kings finally solved the Blackhawks power play, which had yet to concede a goal on home ice and had been beaten only once overall in these playoffs. But the goal by Tyler Toffoli came too late, with just 1:02 left in a blowout and after the Kings had already failed on three power plays back when they still had a chance to come back.
  • Quick, so good this postseason and a major reason the Kings have overcome their parched offense, was beatable Sunday night. He was pulled halfway through the game after giving up four goals on 17 shots. It was the first time in 34 consecutive playoff games that Quick had conceded more than three.

As they chased the game, the Kings ended up outshooting the Blackhawks 31-26, but Corey Crawford was rarely tested and Chicago had an easy time putting the game away.

The Kings were without center Mike Richards and defenseman Jake Muzzin, who each received big hits in Game 1. RIchards is officially out with an upper body injury. They were replaced by Tyler Toffoli and Alec Martinez, respectively.

Toffoli's entrance forced Carter to move to center. Each of them scored after the game was already out of hand, Carter with a snipe and Toffoli with a ... well, we'll call it a chip:

Cartergoal1_medium

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Things got predictably chippy as the game wound down, with the most notable altercation being a scrum in front of Crawford in which the Hawks goalie came to captain Jonathan Toews' rescue by putting Kyle Clifford in a headlock. But no fight resulted, and the bad blood in this series is likely to boil after hits like this by Rob Scuderi on Patrick Sharp:

Hipcheck_medium

The teams head to Los Angeles for Game 3 Tuesday. The Kings can at least take solace in the fact they also lost the first two games on the road for their opening series against the St. Louis Blues, but came back to win that one in six games.

Before the game we considered three questions for Game 2:

Can Corey Crawford keep it going?

Indeed. After the Hawks took the early lead, the Kings reeled off six consecutive shots, but could not beat Crawford. That let the Hawks expand their lead by the end of the first period and run away with the game in the second.

Would somebody other than Justin Williams mind scoring for the Kings?

Yes, but not really. Jeff Carter contributed the goal on a nice high shot, but it was too little and too late. Same with Toffoli's late power play goal. This is a familiar story that may be the death of the Kings whenever their postseason run ends.

Will the Hawks defense continue to contribute offensively?

Yes, fully. Nick Leddy's pinch was a key to Shaw's early goal, while Brent Seabrook's shot late in the first gave the Hawks all the insurance they would need.

More in the NHL:

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