By Brad Vandenberk
The Wild came into game 2 of this Central division final not having lost a back to back game since the All-star game in January. The Hawks were confident, even though they squandered a 3-0 lead in game 1, but still found a way to close it out. Jonathan Toews opens the scoring shorthanded, then it was Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp who did the rest. Kane scored 2 goals, one being an empty netter and Sharp restoring the 2 goal lead early in the third period.
Corey Crawford faced off against Devan Dubnyk who has been hot of late. Crawford literally stood on his head to keep the Wild off the score sheet until Matt Dumba found a way but it wasn’t enough. Kris Versteeg remained out of the line up with a lower body injury creating a spot for Teuvo Teravainen who played great and has a bright future.
The first period didn’t resemble the start of game 1 in anyway. Andrew Shaw put a high shot over Dubnyk. Teravainen and Sharp work a nice passing play with TT running around the zone and dishing it to Sharp who puts the Hawks first shot on net. Michal Rozsival spots Kane breaking through the zone and tries to send him on a breakaway, but the pass is just out of his reach. It’s tough to get anything going with both teams clogging up the neutral zone. The Hawks begin to own the offensive zone but fail to get the puck toward the net. Kane and Bryan Bickell break in on 2 on 1, with Bickell sending Kane’s pass wide. At this stage, the shots are 1-0 Hawks with 10 minutes to play. The Wild get their first chance as Thomas Vanek almost beats Crawford, but gets called for goal tender interference instead. Brandon Saad gets the best attempt during the man advantage but the Wild kill it off. Andrew Desjardins gets a wide open look in the slot and sends it over the net. The Hawks continue to swarm the wild with all lines getting opportunities. Saad plays a shift where he can be seen all over the ice chasing the puck and keeping it in the offensive zone. The period ends with the Hawks winning the shots on net 9-6.
Crawford gets tested early in the second period with both teams trying to draw first blood. Shaw comes out from behind the net, trying to stuff it home but is denied. The Wild continue to leave the slot area open with Sharp, Bickell and Antione Vermette all getting chance between the hash marks. Johnny Oduya makes a huge defensive play chasing down Chris Stewart and diving to tip the puck off his stick. Stewart loses his feet and crashes hard into the boards heading straight to the dressing room. Shaw gets a great rebound attempt in front of the net and sends Jared Spurgeon to the ice with a cross check sending the Wild to their first power play of the game. Marian Hossa may not be scoring these days but his play speaks for itself. Hossa steals a puck from Ryan Suter, who has trouble keeping the puck in. He breaks in on a 2 on 0 with Toews joining the rush. Hossa finds Toews and the captain gets some luck having the puck tip off Dubnyk’s stick and trickle over the goal line 1-0. Crawford stays sharp stopping Kyle Brodziak on a breakaway. He even stretches out his pad to rob Zach Parise twice. The UC is on their feet. Stewart returns to the ice and heads right after Oduya using his words after the collision. Just as the period is about to expire, Wild clear the Hawks zone on a delayed offside. Duncan Keith spots Kane with a stretch pass and Kaner makes no mistake obtaining his 100th career playoff point. He fires a shot off the post and past Dubnyk with 19.9 seconds left in the period 2-0. Rozsival takes a dumb penalty with 2.0 left giving the Wild a 1:58 of power play time to start the third. Hawks still lead the Wild 21-16 in shots.
The Wild make no mistake on the fresh ice with the man advantage. Matt Dumba speeds into the zone and absolutely rips a shot over Crawford 2-1. The Hawks get another power play when Sharp is tripped up by Mikko Koivu. The Hawks cannot convert. Suddenly, there is a loose puck near center ice. Teravainen makes an incredible bank play off the board and finds a streaking Sharp breaking into the zone. He beats Dubnyk with a flick of the wrists and the UC is dancing 3-1. Dubnyk begins to look human almost putting a puck in his own net. Scary moment when Crawford takes a high, hard shot to the melon. He looks a little worse for wear but just needed a new helmet, as he switches back to his old one. Teravainen is all over the ice getting shots on net and very noticeable. Saad continues to play after his helmet gets knocked off, almost scoring. The Wild pull Dubnyk with just over 2 minutes left and Kane seals the deal adding the empty netter and his 101 point in 101 games. The Hawks take game two 4-1 heading to Minnesota with a 2-0 series lead.
-Hawks and Wild tie 31-31 in shots.
-Hawks go 0/2 on the power play with the Wild going 1/2.
-Keith led all Hawks with 30:12 of TOI, next was Niklas Hjalmarsson with 21:28. Kimmo Timonen was only on the ice for 6:57.
-Toews was 56% in the faceoff dot, Richards 39%, Vermette 69% and Kruger 57&.
-Bickell led all Hawks with 12 hits.
-Hawks will now travel to Minnesota for a Tuesday night tilt where the Hawks have a chance to take a strangle hold on this series.
Saad Toews Hossa Keith Rozsival
Bickell Richards Kane Oduya Hjalmarsson
Sharp Vermette Teravainen Timonen Seabrook
Desjardins Kruger Shaw