Former champions now up 2-0 in Western Conference final series.
Bryan Bickell scored the eventual game winner, and Chicago chased Jonathan Quick in the second period en-route to a 4-2 rout of the Los Angeles Kings in game two of their Western Conference final series.
Bickell and Michael Handzus scored second period goals just 2:09 minutes apart for Chicago who seized a 2-0 series lead in the battle for a spot in the 2013 Stanley Cup finals.
“I just need to get in front of the net and get the second opportunities. The greasy ones they call it,” Canadian Bickell said.
Handzus’ goal halfway through the second made it 4-0 and chased Quick from the net as the reigning playoff MVP was pulled for just the second time in his playoff career.
Forward Andrew Shaw and defenceman Brent Seabrook also scored for Chicago, who are in the league semi-finals for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup in 2010. Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad each added a pair of assists in the win.
Quick, who is the leading candidate to be the USA’s goaltender at next year’s Winter Olympics in Russia, gave up four goals on 17 shots before being pulled by coach Darryl Sutter.
While Quick was off his mark, Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford was on his game, making 29 saves for Chicago, who improved to 8-1 at home during the playoffs.
“We got to take the momentum from these two games into the next game,” said Shaw. “We have got to stay level headed.”
Quick is not getting much help from the Kings’ offence in the best-of-seven series, which now switches to Los Angeles for game three on Tuesday night at Staples Center arena.
Captain Dustin Brown and all-star forward Anze Kopitar, of Slovenia, have yet to score a goal in the series for the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings, who are 1-7 on the road in the playoffs.
Brown has been especially anemic as he has no points in the series and has just two points in his last 11 games.
The Kings top scorer on Sunday was 21-year-old rookie Tyler Toffoli, who was playing in his first game of the series. Toffoli, a former Ottawa 67, had a goal and an assist.
“We got away from our game, we stopped getting it deep and turned it over, and they capitalized on their chances,” Canadian Toffoli said.
Quick’s teammates seemed to be working against him at times during Sunday’s contest in front of a crowd of 21,824 at United Center arena.
Bickell was awarded the Hawks’ third goal as he battled in front of the net with defenceman Robyn Regehr after Kings forward Dwight King was penalized for tripping at the 5:28 mark of the second.
Sharp blasted a shot from the slot that was knocked down in front before Kings’ defenceman Regehr appeared to shoot the puck past Quick into his own net, giving Chicago a commanding 3-0 lead.
Canadian Jeff Carter scored the other goal for the Kings, while backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier stopped all nine shots he faced.
Bickell said he expects to the Kings to come out storming from the opening faceoff on Tuesday at home, where they are 7-0 in the postseason.
“These guys are the Stanley Cup champs last year for a reason,” Bickell said. “We need to be focussed going into Los Angeles and play our game.”