Hawks beat Wild 5-2 despite sloppy effort, Kane sparkles - New York News

Hawks beat Wild 5-2 despite sloppy effort, Kane sparkles

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Chicago Blackhawks captured the opening game of Round 2 by dispatching the Minnesota Wild 5-2. For those who didn’t watch the game don’t let the score deceive you, the Hawks were more lucky than good on Friday night.

This contest featured a team coming off an exhilarating elimination game win on Wednesday and another who hadn’t played since Sunday. The Wild looked like they could have been put away early but the Blackhawks couldn’t sustain an effective effort. In the same regard Minnesota wasn’t as sharp as they needed to be.

In essence this series didn’t begin with a great hockey game, it was difficult to watch at times, and both teams had their challenges. Bryan Bickell tipped in a Brent Seabrook shot to get the Hawks on the board at 14:48 of the opening period. The second Chicago marker also came on the power play. This time Marian Hossa received a slick pass from Brandon Saad and tapped in his second goal of the postseason.

Actually the Hawks were guilty of sloppy play and when they came out for the second period, it was almost as if they were disinterested. Sometimes a team gets what they deserve and at other times they get lucky. The Hawks were getting badly outplayed in the second frame but managed to hold a 2-0 advantage through 40 minutes. They were fortunate Corey Crawford didn’t look as rusty as many of his teammates.

Crawford was the difference as he outplayed his counterpart Ilya Bryzgalov. Crawford was solid and he also benefitted from the Wild missing the net or hitting the post on very good chances. In the middle period Crawford turned aside 17 shots. The Wild outshot the Hawks 32-22 in the match.

Eventually the Blackhawks got what they deserved as Minnesota scored twice within the opening seven minutes of the third period. The first Wild tally leaked past Crawford and the second was caused by a defensive miscue. It was more of a case of the Wild finally cashing in after a lot of good work.

Shortly after the Wild drew even the Hawks got going, in particular Patrick Kane got going.

Kane made an end-to-end rush, skated through the Wild and deposited a perfectly placed backhander over the shoulder of a bewildered Bryzgalov. Kane didn’t have much room to score but Bryzgalov went down a little too soon and he paid for it.

Once Kane tallied the Hawks started moving their feet and it was the Wild who were back on their heels. A little over eight minutes after Kane’s great individual effort Ben Smith made a nifty play. Smith deflected a puck to Kane who had no trouble potting a goal into a wide open net.

The Hawks avoided what would have been a bad home ice loss with a good third period burst. Bickell capped the scoring with an empty net goal at 17:19.

On the positive side of the ledger the Blackhawks were two for four on the power play. Crawford kept his team alive with a great second period and they won a game while not firing on all cylinders.

On the downside the Hawks almost seemed to stop skating when they were outshot 17-3 in period two. The scoring chances through 40 minutes were in favor of the Wild 12-9. As was the case last series a two goal lead was squandered.

The best news for Chicago fans is with a better effort in Sunday’s matinee the Hawks could send the series back to Minnesota with a 2-0 lead. One has to think the Wild will be sharper in Game 2 but the same case could be made for the Blackhawks.

Al’s Shots

In the middle of the opening period Andrew Shaw was checked hard by Clayton Stoner and didn’t return to the ice. It looked like Shaw suffered a leg or ankle injury. Shaw was forced to leave the bench and head to the dressing room and is listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury.

Kris Versteeg was a healthy scratch once again.

Joakim Nordstrom took Versteeg’s spot in the lineup and played 10:37.

Nordstrom was on the ice for both Wild goals and just maybe Versteeg could get a chance to play on Sunday. Nordstrom did leave the zone early on the second Wild tally but couldn’t be faulted on the first goal.

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

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