Fast, furious Blackhawks pound Kings in Game 2
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Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook celebrates his first-period goal with teammate Duncan Keith on Sunday at United Center.
John Starks | Staff Photographer
Jonathan Quick had a pretty good seat to watch the last half of Sunday's game at the United Center -- from the bench.
The Blackhawks chased arguably the world's best goaltender midway through the second period after scoring their fourth goal on their way to a 4-2 win in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.
Tim Sassone's 3 starsThree stars
1. Corey Crawford, Hawks
Made 29 saves and showed some feistiness by coming to Jonathan Toews' aid during a melee in the third period, much to the delight of the sellout crowd.
2. Andrew Shaw, Hawks
Opened the scoring just 1:56 into the game and was a thorn in the side of the Kings much of the night.
3. Patrick Sharp, Hawks
Had 2 assists on the goals that put the Hawks in the driver's seat in the second period.
The Hawks lead the best-of-seven series 2-0 heading to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Thursday.
The Kings are now 1-7 on the road in the playoffs, but they are going home to the Staples Center where they have won 14 postseason games in a row dating back to last season when they won the Stanley Cup.
"I think we expected them to be better than in Game 1 and they were, but we raised our game, too," said Hawks captain Jonathan Toews. "It's going to get tougher and tougher, especially going into their building."
The Kings also trailed St. Louis 2-0 in the first round, losing both games on the road, before rallying to win four in a row.
"They're a good team and obviously we would have liked to have gotten one or two here," Kings center Jeff Carter said. "But we're going back home and we've played good hockey there."
The Kings appear to have no answer for the Hawks' speed and skill, at least so far in the first two games. Anze Kopitar was a no-show again Sunday with 2 shots while Dustin Brown had just 1 shot on goal.
"We've played our game and matched lines pretty well," Hawks center Andrew Shaw said. "Now going in their barn they might have something different for us. We've just got to stay composed and compete. I think we have confidence now to play the game we need to play."
Quick didn't get much help from his teammates, especially in the second period.
It was already 2-0 when Bryan Bickell got credit for a goal that Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr actually put into his own net on a Hawks power play at 7:11.
Quick was gone after Michal Handzus beat him on a 2-on-1 with Patrick Sharp at 9:20. Handzus looked off Sharp and beat Quick with a hard wrist shot to make it 4-0.
"We went through a little spurt there in the last series where pucks weren't going in, but now we're getting the results we want," Toews said. "I'm sure a guy like (Quick), he's a competitor and he's going to bounce back. We've got to be even tougher on him and try our best not to let him get his confidence back."
It was the Hawks' fifth straight win since going down 3-1 to Detroit in the previous round.
"That's hockey," Toews said. "One day things don't look so good, but you battle your way back and the next thing you know you're feeling pretty good. Momentum can swing pretty quick throughout the playoffs. We understand we're feeling good about where we are in the series, but that's not a team that's going to give up to easy. They're going to keep fighting to battle their way back in the series.
"We can't be satisfied or anything. We can't expect that our momentum is just going to carry us through the next couple games. We've got to work to keep that going."
Shaw opened the scoring at 1:56 when he took a behind-the-back pass from Viktor Stalberg and beat Quick with a shot that went off the post and in.
Nick Leddy didn't get an assist but his pinch along the boards knocked the puck loose.
It stayed that way until 19:09 of the first when Brent Seabrook beat Quick to the far side from the right circle after taking a drop pass from Marian Hossa.
"I thought we played all right," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "We gave them some wide-open opportunities that they scored on. One is a forecheck right away early in the game. We didn't make the play in the wall we could have made. Then the goal at the end of the first was a read play."
Corey Crawford was terrific in the opening 20 minutes with 13 saves. One of them cane against Tyler Toffoli after a crazy bounce off the glass sent the puck toward the net.
Toffoli was in the lineup in place of Mike Richards, who was a late scratch because of an upper body injury.
• Follow Tim's hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.
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