Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville wanted his team to play at a higher pace Friday night in Game 2 against Minnesota at the United Center.
Consider Quenneville's message received loud and clear.
The Hawks had 48 shots on goal and stormed to a 5-2 win over the Wild to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven first-round playoff series.
Game 3 is Sunday afternoon at the Xcel Energy Center.
“There was clearly another level to their game tonight, and I'd say that there's at least another level to ours that was unfortunately in the wrong direction,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said.
Michael Frolik and Patrick Sharp each scored 2 goals to back the strong goaltending of Corey Crawford.
“It's something we talked about,” Quenneville said. “It was a very disappointing first period the other night. We were more on the receiving end and them scoring the first goal. We didn't dictate the way the game needed to be played as far how fast we wanted to play. Tonight we were much more effective.”
Frolik's first goal at 8:34 of the first period opened the scoring and was set up by Andrew Shaw.
It was the first goal of the playoffs for the hardworking Frolik, who made it 2-0 just 49 seconds into the second period when he scored short-handed from in front.
The goals came from another unlikely source, much like in Game 1 when Bryan Bickell's goal won it for the Hawks in overtime.
The Hawks' third and fourth lines were an important part of the team's success during the regular season and they're taking it into the playoffs.
“They've been huge all season and we know they're going to be even more important during the postseason,” Jonathan Toews said. “They (the third line of Shaw, Bickell and Viktor Stalberg) did everything the other night. That's what we want all our lines to bring it like that.”
Toews thinks the Hawks are tough to beat because they play any style and succeed.
“We like to think of ourselves as an offensive team that can create chances every which way,” Toews said. “We can create chances off the rush and off shots from the point.”
The Hawks dominated much of the first two periods and only some good saves by Minnesota goalie Josh Harding kept the score down.
Trailing 2-0, the Wild finally broke through against Crawford late in the second period as Devin Setoguchi took a pass from Mark Cullen and beat Crawford under the crossbar.
But Sharp responded with his first 2 goals of the series to make it 4-1.
“It's nice to score at home and it's nice to score in the playoffs,” Sharp said. “Hopefully it's a start of many more.”
It was another frustrating night for Minnesota's first line of Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise and Charlie Coyle, who have combined for 1 assist in the series.
Crawford stoned Parise five times on a power play midway through the second period with the Hawks holding a 2-0 lead.
“What a sequence there,” Quenneville said. “Right there, all alone. That was a huge sequence there for him and for us and helped our penalty killers again.”
Parise had 7 of Minnesota's 28 shots. Koivu took a pair of third period penalties in a miserable performance from the Wild captain. He was minus-3, as was Parise.
Again Quenneville won the matchup battle with defensemen Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson out against the Wild's top line along with Toews, Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad.
Sharp broke through with a big insurance goal early in the third period when he beat Harding with a backhander in tight on an assist from Patrick Kane.
Kane made an even better pass to Sharp on his second goal that made it 4-1 — a no-looker from in the slot to Sharp in the low left circle.
“I saw like three guys collapse on me so I just threw it to an area and was hoping he was there,” Kane said. “He did a nice job of getting open.”
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