Chicago Blackhawks capture Game 2 with better effort in 5-2 win - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Blackhawks capture Game 2 with better effort in 5-2 win

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Chicago Blackhawks weren't perfect but they did bring a more complete effort to defeat Minnesota 5-2 in Game 2.

The third and fourth lines set the tone to begin the contest and it was Michael Frolik who notched the Hawks first two goals. The big names came through later to add to the offense and Corey Crawford was there to make big stops when his teammates stumbled.

Frolik has finally found a spot to flourish and as a fourth line player and penalty killer has shined this season. Frolik has been a hard worker on every shift and also has to be considered a true playoff performer. In 13 games in the postseason, all with Chicago, Frolik has tallied six goals. Friday night Frolik's second of the contest came while being shorthanded. It was the first time the Wild surrendered a goal this season while being a man down.

Joel Quenneville had mentioned more than once his squad needed to come out with a better start. The Hawks bench boss wasn't thrilled with the pace of Game 1, especially the opening period. His group responded and played at a quick tempo and kept the game simple. They were able to play faster because of more accurate passing.

The Hawks got pucks behind the Wild defense and played a north side game led by the bottom six forwards. They not only possessed the puck a great deal of the time in period one but they created scoring chances and tested Josh Harding.

The Hawks dented the twine only once in the opening stanza but fired a total of 31 shot attempts. Minnesota blocked 10, the Hawks missed the net four times and 17 shots hit the target. The game was close on the scoreboard but the Hawks were the dominant team and executed the type of start Quenneville had in mind. 

In the second period Minnesota found some life and the Hawks lost some concentration and momentum. The Wild finally connected for a goal at 17:57 of the middle frame after a couple of Hawk players were caught out of position. The real story is what happened earlier in the period when Crawford stole the show.

Following a Brandon Bollig boarding penalty at 10:33, Minnesota went on the attack. Before the penalty, which in my view was a questionable call, the Hawks had a 22-12 shot advantage. The Wild then proceeded to take seven shots on the two minute power play. Five or six came from close range and on the same sequence. Crawford stayed strong and held his crease after Zach Parise had a handful of very good chances.

After allowing one soft goal on the first shot in Game 1, Crawford has been excellent. He came through on Friday night and was the main reason the Wild could never draw even with the Hawks. Crawford held the fort down and then the Hawks skill tool over. 

After this season there should be little doubt Patrick Kane is the best passer/playmaker in the NHL. Kane controlled the offense and assisted on both Patrick Sharp goals.

On the Blackhawks third tally Sharp showed the fine hands of a goal scorer to put the puck behind Harding while at a bad angle. Then Kane made a highlight reel pass and Sharp buried a shot into a wide open cage.

It looked like every Wild player was mesmerized by Kane before the Hawks fourth goal. Sharp knew he only needed to get into an area to receive a pass as Kane did the rest. The Hawks sniper did just that as the Hawks took a 4-1 lead and Game 2 win was all but in the books.

The only real disappointment on the night was the Blackhawk power play. Marian Hossa has been used as a point man of late. Can't say that move makes a great deal of sense but Quenneville is trying to find a combo that clicks. The Hawks went 0-4 on the power play and maybe more important lost some momentum with the man advantage.

On the bright side the penalty killing unit was a perfect 2-2. That group also added to the scoring with Frolik's second goal.

In post game comments Wild head Coach Mike Yeo thought his club took a step backwards. He remarked the Hawks brought another level to their game and his group did just the opposite.

Not that Yeo could say it, but maybe more accurate would be the Hawks played their game and the Wild couldn't prevent the outcome.

Up in Minnesota for a Sunday matinee game the Hawks will look to get a stranglehold on the series. The Wild may get a player or two back from sick bay but with the same type of effort the Hawks should be fine.

The Blackhawks shouldn't look to discount the chances of Minnesota to mount a challenge. Their aim should be to prevent them from finding any hope and to end this series as soon as possible.

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

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