Chicago Blackhawks stretch lead over Los Angeles Kings in play-off series
Chicago enjoy home win to make it two wins on the spin in play-off series with Los Angeles
There's a sign in the hallway that runs from the home locker room to the ice at the United Centre. It says "EARN IT," and it was sure hard to argue that the Chicago Blackhawks haven't done just that during an impressive start to the Western Conference finals.
Bryan Bickell and Michal Handzus scored on consecutive shots in the second period, and Chicago chased goalie Jonathan Quick on their way to a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in game two.
Andrew Shaw and Brent Seabrook also scored as the rolling Blackhawks grabbed a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series with their fifth consecutive victory. Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad had two assists apiece, and Corey Crawford made 29 saves in another solid performance.
"It's a high-speed game. If we use our speed, we'll be all right," Shaw said. "We played our game. That's the difference. The guys played good. We all competed for each other. We did everything we needed to do, keeping it deep in the zone."
Game three is tomorrow morning (HK time) at Los Angeles, where the Kings have won 14 consecutive games dating to the regular season. The Kings also lost their first two games of the play-offs at St Louis before winning four straight to eliminate the Blues in the first round.
Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli had goals for Los Angeles, but the Kings struggled to score without Mike Richards, who was scratched because of an undisclosed upper body injury.
The defending Stanley Cup champions have 29 goals in 15 post-season games.
"We've just got to do a better job of playing our game," Los Angeles defenceman Robyn Regehr said. "First of all, we've got to be really clean coming out of our zone, make good short little plays and support one another.
"Once we do that, we'll do a better job coming out of the neutral zone, because these guys really rely on turnovers."
Richards, who leads the Kings with 10 play-off points, was sidelined after taking a big hit from Dave Bolland in the final minutes of the Blackhawks' 2-1 victory on Saturday. Kings coach Darryl Sutter said Richards was "fine" a couple of hours before the game, but the centre was scratched from the line-up after participating in pregame warm-ups.
"I think just once his blood got pumping tonight, the adrenaline got going, there were symptoms," Sutter said. "I went in right after warm-up … and I said, 'Unless you're 100 per cent, you're not playing.'"