Chicago Blackhawks lead the series over the Minnesota Wild 2-0.
After Tuesday’s close game, this game was expected to be another nail biter.
Instead, Michael Frolik scored to make it 1-0, and the Blackhawks never really looked back.
I can only think of this series as, like, a phone app or a program (because I’m a nerd):
Blackhawks-Wild 1.0: The Blackhawks had to adjust at the last minute, as Josh Harding had to come in for Nicklas Backstrom. The team hung back to see what the Wild were going to throw at them, and after Cal Clutterbuck scored a goal, the Blackhawks were like “Okay, we’ve seen enough” and took control. The only reason the game went into overtime was Harding, but Bryan Bickell made sure that Blackhawks fans would go home happy.
So — buggy, with a wrench thrown in at the last minute, but it still did the job.
Blackhawks-Wild 2.0: The Blackhawks worked out the bugs, and, well — you see the final score. The Wild worked hard to try to keep Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane from scoring… so, instead, Frolik put up two, Patrick Sharp put up two, and Corey Crawford made some key saves, like this five-save sequence on Zach Parise during a power play for the Wild.
Hey, remember when all the pundits said that goaltending would be the Blackhawks’ weak point? Heh-heh.
And, of course, what’s a game against the Wild without Kane doing something magically ridiculous, like this pass to Sharp?
Watch it. Then watch it again. Then watch it a third time and register just what Kane did on this play. He has four — FOUR! — Wild players on him, and what does he do? A neat no-look pass to Sharp for the easiest open net goal Sharp’s had in recent memory.
I just… I don’t know how he does it. I’ve given up on making sense of Kane’s insane amount of skill.
So, after Bickell iced the game with an empty netter, the Blackhawks now lead the series 2-0 as they head up to St. Paul, Minnesota. I expect Game 3 to go much like Game 1, with the Wild frantically adjusting and the Blackhawks trying to find another rhythm.