Michael Frolik and Patrick Sharp each score twice as Hawks cruise to 5-2 Game 2 win
BY MARK LAZERUS email@example.com May 3, 2013 11:20PM
blackhawks 5, wild 2
Minnesota 0 1 1 — 2
Blackhawks 1 1 3 — 5
First Period—1, HAWKS, Frolik 1 (Shaw, Leddy), 8:34. Penalties—Koivu, Min (roughing), 15:42; Suter, Min (roughing), 15:42; Shaw, HAWKS (slashing), 15:42.
Second Period—2, HAWKS, Frolik 2 (Keith, Hjalmarsson), :49 (sh). 3, Minnesota, Setoguchi 1 (Cullen, Zucker), 17:57. Penalties—Toews, HAWKS (high-sticking), :34; Bollig, HAWKS (boarding), 10:33; Brodziak, Min (slashing), 14:15.
Third Period—4, HAWKS, Sharp 1 (Kane, Handzus), 3:44. 5, HAWKS, Sharp 2 (Kane), 14:08. 6, Minnesota, Scandella 1 (Coyle, Cullen), 16:29. 7, HAWKS, Bickell 2 (Shaw), 19:49 (en). Penalties—Koivu, Min (tripping), 9:37; Koivu, Min (hooking), 16:37.
Shots on Goal—Minnesota 7-15-6—28. HAWKS 17-14-17—48.
Power-play opportunities—Minnesota 0 of 2; HAWKS 0 of 4.
Goalies—Minnesota, Harding 0-2-0 (47 shots-43 saves). HAWKS, Crawford 2-0-0 (28-26).
Referees—Marc Joannette, Brian Pochmara. Linesmen—Lonnie Cameron, Jay Sharrers. A—22,012 (19,717). T—2:26.
Updated: June 5, 2013 6:19AM
You’re never satisfied. You’re never completely content. There are always things to work on, always things to improve on, always things that nag at you and eat at you. That’s life as a professional athlete, life as a coach.
But sometimes, you come close.
And if the Blackhawks’ Game 1 victory was a relief because they escaped with a win despite a subpar performance, Friday night’s 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild in Game 2 was a relief because the Hawks looked like themselves again, from start to finish.
Michael Frolik got it started with two goals, Patrick Sharp finished it with two third-period goals and Corey Crawford made 26 saves — including a spectacular sequence during a seven-shot Wild power play in the second period — as the Hawks rectified many of the mistakes that nearly cost them in Tuesday’s overtime win.
“I don’t think we ever go through a whole game where we do everything we want to do,” defenseman Duncan Keith said. “I think we were better than last game, but I still think that we can be better overall.”
Indeed, progress is everything. And in Game 2, the Hawks made plenty of it.
In Game 1, they struggled to get quality scoring chances on Wild backup goaltender Josh Harding as Minnesota’s stout defense yielded only sharp-angle shots from the outside. In Game 2, the Hawks were faster and more aggressive, peppering Harding with 47 shots and getting in the slot and firing away, hoping for second- and third-chance opportunities. They got them.
Both of Frolik’s goals came off Wild blocks — the first off a first-period Andrew Shaw shot, the second, a short-handed one off a Keith shot just 54 seconds into the second period. Both times, Frolik simply crashed the net, found the puck on his stick and smacked it in. (And both times, he fell as he shot.)
In 13 career playoff games with the Hawks, Frolik has six goals. In 138 regular-season games with the Hawks, he has 11.
“I don’t really know what it is,” Frolik said. “I’d be happy to have it in the season, too.”
Said Keith: “That’s the type of goals you get in the playoffs. You throw pucks at the net and go to the net. And that’s why he got rewarded two times — because he went right to the net.”
In Game 1, the Hawks came out flat-footed and fell behind early. In Game 2, they came out buzzing and hitting, throwing their weight around with big, well-timed hits. Even Sharp got in on the action, drilling Wild rookie Jonas Brodin.
“You try to do anything you can to help the team this time of year,” Sharp said. “I don’t think you’re going to see me putting too many guys in the second or third row, but I can finish my checks just like everybody else.”
After Crawford stopped five Zach Parise shots in (officially) one second on a second-period power play, the Wild finally broke through when Devin Setoguchi scored on a two-on-one with 2:03 left in the second. But the Hawks responded as Sharp got two third-period goals, both off Patrick Kane assists. After Marco Scandella made it 4-2 with 3:31 to go, Bryan Bickell scored an empty-netter to seal it.
In Game 1, the Hawks looked like playoff novices, jittery and flat. In Game 2, the Hawks looked a lot more like the experienced team that stormed through the regular season at a record pace. The leap was exponential from Game 1 to Game 2. The series shifts to St. Paul, Minn., for Sunday afternoon’s Game 3, and the Hawks can only hope it gets even better from here.
“That was definitely a great game for us,” Crawford said. “We’ve just got to carry this momentum and that way of playing into the next game and just keep getting better.”