Hawks continue to roll with a 4-2 victory, Quick looks human - FOX 32 News Chicago

Hawks continue to roll with a 4-2 victory, Quick looks human

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Chicago Blackhawks controlled the Los Angeles Kings in Game 2 and with a 4-2 win proved Jonathan Quick is human. The Hawks didn't dominate as much of the action as in Game 1 but it was enough, as Quick wasn't at the top of his game.

The Kings return home hoping for better but Quick comes off a performance where he gave up four goals, which is a rare post season occurrence. Quick was pulled at the 9:20 mark of period two and it was the first time in 34 playoff games he gave up more than three goals in a game. In the other net, Corey Crawford continues to be the consistent goaltender Chicago fans hoped he could be.

Maybe the Blackhawks used up all their bad luck in the Detroit series.

The Hawks aren't hitting goal posts, now they are finding ways to score off the post. The more physical Kings is the club on the short end of body checks and as a result lost Mike Richards their best center and top offensive player in the playoffs. It seemed like Richards was going to play after getting checked by Dave Bolland at the end of Game 1, but apparently concussion symptoms have surfaced.

Even though he hasn't been scoring goals, Jonathan Toews is back to being a very effective player. Credit his perseverance but give Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg high marks for being an outstanding defensive center. The Kings don't have a Zetterberg and without Richards they will have an even more difficult time dealing with Toews and the Blackhawks.

The first period on Sunday saw the Kings play much better than in Game 1 but after 20 minutes they trailed the Blackhawks 2-0.

Andrew Shaw continues to prove he is a very important part of the team and was rewarded with the opening goal of the game. Quick was a bit unlucky as the puck was deflected and then went in off the near post. Some high marks go to Nick Leddy who kept the play alive and got the puck to Brandon Saad who had another impressive outing. It was then Viktor Stalberg who made a slick pass and Shaw did the rest.

Brent Seabrook concluded the scoring in period one and his goal may have been the dagger for the Kings. Seabrook scored in the final minute to give the Hawks a two goal lead in a period where the Kings played their best hockey of the series.

Seabrook was set up by some nice work by Toews and Marian Hossa who once again was dialed on high. Seabrook let a low hard shot go but it was one Quick would normally save. In Game 2 Quick wasn't himself as he was a little off his angle on Seabrook's shot, and there is little margin for error.

Bryan Bickell got credit for the next goal but he got a lot of help from Kings defender Robyn Regehr who shot the puck toward his own net. In any case it was another goal Quick normally stops. He usually doesn't get beat by shots on the ice near his crease, but again the Hawks were rewarded for hard work.

The play came about as Bickell was setting a good screen and Patrick Sharp put an accurate shot on net. The Hawks converted on a power play, which is also good news, and Sharp continues to be impressive in the post season. Bickell also continues to make a case why GM Stan Bowman needs to open his checkbook and sign him to an extension.

Bickell is an upcoming unrestrictive free agent and will be a hot commodity this summer. The Hawks don't have any player in their system with Bickell's size and skill set. When Bickell stops taking 40-foot wrist shots but rather goes to the net and brings physicality to the Hawks lineup he is a difference maker.

Could this be a case of a player raising his level of play mainly because he is in a contract year? Possibly, but at this point Bowman needs to take a chance because power forwards are a rare find.

Speaking of a good find, Michal Handzus continues to make his presence felt. At this point in his career being a second line center might be asking too much of Handzus but he is doing an adequate job and winning faceoffs.

Handzus is a heady player and can pass well. He ended the Hawks scoring by placing a wrist shot just inside the near post to beat Quick. After another short side goal, Darryl Sutter gave Quick the rest of the evening off.

The Hawks can get by with Handzus at center if the other pivots are doing their best work. Marcus Kruger and Dave Bolland on the fourth and Shaw on third line are playing solid hockey and are noticeable on almost every shift. The Hawks captain is back to being a leader on and off the ice as his play continues to impress even though he isn't scoring goals.

The Hawks defense led by Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson has been able to stifle the Kings forecheck. The Blackhawks haven't been trapped in their own zone and have been able to control the pace of play. That has happened because of the strong play from the entire crew of Chicago defenders.

The Blackhawks are now in a great position to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

With another top effort and with a little luck this series may be a short one. The Kings did come back to win after losing the opening two games in their series with St. Louis. That said the Blues don't have the same skill and depth as the Blackhawks, and no doubt the Kings know the same.

So expect the Kings to come out and hit the Hawks with their best punch in the opening frame of Game 3. If the Blackhawks can weather the LA attack on Tuesday night and get a lead the Kings could be in a tough spot.

LA is a great home club but if Richards is still out and Quick doesn't bounce back the Hawks could come out on top once again. The Kings were finally able to crack the Hawks penalty kill so maybe that gives them some hope of better days to come.

There is a lot of hockey left to play but so far this series has gone much differently than many predicted.

It has been the "softer" club inflicting the punishment and causing some injuries to surface. The better goaltender was chased in the second period after allowing four goals. The Hawks top two scorers, Patrick Kane and Toews have not recorded a goal yet but regardless their club hasn't lost a game in this series. So far the unexpected is happening and the Blackhawks couldn't be more pleased.

Actually it could be more a case of the Hawks playing as well as they should and the Kings not being able to do much about it.

I will be back on Wednesday and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia.

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