Observations From Section 321 : A Royal Beatdown

Jonathan Daniel

The Blackhawks grab a 2-0 series lead after a dominating 4-2 victory of the Kings on Sunday night.

Is anybody else having flashbacks to the 2010 Western Conference Final? There was a lot of talk about how tough the San Jose Sharks were going to be and they turned out to be the easiest playoff series that season. I predicted this series will go seven games with the home team winning every game and that still could happen. This series will not come back to Chicago if the Kings keep giving the Blackhawks all the room to skate like they have been allowing over the first two games. You would think that Darryl Sutter didn't watch a single second of the game film from the Red Wings series by what we've seen on the ice so far.

The Kings actually outplayed the Hawks for parts of the first period and even out shot them 13-9. After 20 minutes, it was the Hawks who lead in the only stat that matters in the end, goals. The Blackhawks got the scoring started early with Andrew Shaw's 4th goal of the playoffs at 1:56. If you could give 3 assists on a goal then Nick Leddy should get the most important one. It was his pinch on Jarret Stoll that freed the puck to Brandon Saad who did a great job getting away from Matt Greene. Viktor Stalberg received a centering pass from Saad and made a nice behind the back pass to Shaw who fired a nice wrister past Jonathan Quick. We should have known things were not going to go well for Mr Conn Smyte after getting beat, glove side, by Andrew Shaw. The Hawks would extent their lead to 2-0 at 19:50 when Brent Seabrook scored his 2nd goal of the playoffs. Johnathan Toews, with plenty of room at center ice, got the puck across to Marian Hossa. Once in the zone, Hoss left the puck for Seabrook who blasted a slat shot past Quick.

The Hawks would take advantage of the Dwight King tripping penalty to extend their lead to 3-0 at 7:11 of the 2nd period. Bryan Bickell got credit for this 6th goal of the playoffs but it looked like it was the recently extended Robin Regehr who tapped the puck into his own net. The mad scramble in front of the net was caused by a rebound given up off a Patrick Sharp shot from the point. Brandon Saad picked up his second assist of the night on the play as well. Just over two minutes later, Michal Handzus would end Jonathan Quick's night with a nice little wrist shot. Handzus and Sharp broke in on a 2 on 1, and Handzus might have caught Quick leaning a bit towards Sharp's direction and probably wasn't expecting Zeus to shoot in that situation.

The Kings would get a late 2nd period goal from Jeff Carter on a hell of a top shelf snipe. They would add a power play goal by Tyler Toffoli with just 1:02 left in the game to make it 4-2. There were a lot of Kings fans who wanted to see Toffoli back in the lineup after he was a healthy scratch in Game 1. All he did was have a goal and an assist in his return to the ice. I don't think he gets scratched again going forward.

* There was a lot of Corey Crawford love in the United Center last night, and it is about damn time! Crow finally won over the meatballs when he came to the "rescue" of Jonathan Toews who was involved in a scrum with lifelong pudwhack Kyle Clifford. His play between the pipes all playoffs long should be getting the fans to chant his name, but I am happy to see Crow get the props he richly deserves. His actions actually got Captain Serious to smile, on the ice, during a game. I am pretty sure that has never happened before.

* All we heard about the Los Angeles Kings was how big and physical this team is. How their giant forwards are just going to beat up the tiny Blackhawks and have their way with them. Where the hell is this big and bad team everybody was worried about? This team has looked timid the first two games of this series. The Hawks have been the more aggressive team so far. It's like the Kings are worried that if they go out of their way to check anyone their are going to get beat deep. Nothing I have seen out of this team, so far, has worried me. If Jonathan Quick is not going to be on his game the Kings are in trouble because their offense looks rather pedestrian right now. They are a different beast at home, so Game 3 could look a lot different than what we saw over the weekend.

* The Blackhawks have a total 26 takeaways compared to just 8 for the Kings. This goes a long way in winning a playoff series.

* If you were to tell me that the Blackhawks would be 2 wins away from the Stanley Cup Final with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews only having 3 combined goals, I would have said your were nucking futs! But that is exactly where the Hawks are. Just imagine how good this team would be if or when they get hot and start scoring goals.

* Michal Handzus has a 5 game point streak. Just let that one settle in for a second. For all the crap Handzus has taken he has been a solid addition to this team. Yes, if you look directly at his skating your eyes will start to bleed but he made some big shot blocks and has been decent at the faceoff circle. He struggled a bit in Games 6 and 7 against Detroit, but he has won nearly 56% of his draws against the Kings so far. And every once in awhile he shows that he still has good hands, like he did on the the goal that chased Jonathan Quick from the the game.

* It's too bad we are going to pay Dave Bolland $3.375 million next season for whatever it is that he does and Bryan Bickell is going to most likely walk. His playoff performance has every Eastern Conference team drooling over each other to see which one can overpay him the most this summer.

Blackhawks Corsi Numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Duncan Keith D 17:12 12 17 -5 +3 -6
Niklas Hjalmarsson D 17:01 13 17 -4 -4 -2
Brent Seabrook D 18:18 13 17 -4 +3 -5
Nick Leddy D 12:23 8 8 0 -2 +1
Patrick Sharp R 14:24 12 8 +4 -2 +5
Marcus Kruger C 8:13 3 7 -4 -2 -3
Jonathan Toews C 16:29 11 18 -7 +1 -7
Brandon Saad L 10:24 9 9 0 -1 +0
Viktor Stalberg L 9:01 7 5 +2 +1 +2
Michal Handzus C 12:34 12 7 +5 -2 +6
Johnny Oduya D 17:22 14 15 -1 -4 +1
Bryan Bickell L 13:39 10 13 -3 +2 -4
Michal Rozsival D 12:57 8 7 +1 -2 +2
Dave Bolland C 8:52 3 11 -8 -2 -7
Andrew Shaw C 10:38 9 7 +2 0 +2
Michael Frolik R 8:44 4 8 -4 -2 -3
Marian Hossa R 14:38 11 16 -5 0 -5
Patrick Kane R 13:44 12 10 +2 -2 +3

Kings Corsi Numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Matt Greene D 12:46 9 14 -5 0 -5
Rob Scuderi D 19:50 14 11 +3 +2 +2
Drew Doughty D 17:23 15 14 +1 -1 +1
Anze Kopitar C 14:50 12 12 0 +1 -0
Kyle Clifford L 7:55 8 5 +3 +2 +2
Justin Williams R 16:03 13 12 +1 +1 +1
Brad Richardson R 8:10 6 7 -1 +2 -2
Trevor Lewis C 12:28 10 10 0 +2 -1
Dustin Brown L 13:39 10 13 -3 +1 -3
Colin Fraser C 8:57 7 7 0 +2 -1
Dustin Penner R 11:52 14 6 +8 -1 +8
Slava Voynov D 18:02 19 6 +13 +4 +11
Alec Martinez D 10:41 9 9 0 +2 -1
Jarret Stoll C 12:16 7 6 +1 +1 +1
Robyn Regehr D 15:51 14 14 0 -1 +0
Tyler Toffoli C 11:28 12 6 +6 -2 +7
Dwight King L 14:10 8 11 -3 +1 -3
Jeff Carter C 10:54 16 7 +9 -1 +9

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