CHICAGO (AP) — Bryan Bickell and Michal Handzus scored on consecutive shots in the second period, and the Chicago Blackhawks chased goalie Jonathan Quick on their way to a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.
Andrew Shaw and Brent Seabrook also scored as the rolling Blackhawks grabbed a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series with their fifth consecutive victory. Patrick Sharp added two assists, and Corey Crawford made 29 saves in another solid performance.
Game 3 is Tuesday night at Los Angeles, where the Kings have won 14 consecutive games, dating to the regular season. The Kings also lost their first two games of the playoffs at St. Louis before winning four straight to eliminate the Blues in the first round.
Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli scored for Los Angeles, but the Kings struggled to score while playing without Mike Richards, who was scratched because of an undisclosed upper body injury. The defending Stanley Cup champions have 29 goals in 15 postseason games.
Richards, who leads the team with 10 playoff points, was sidelined after taking a big hit from Dave Bolland in the final minutes of the Blackhawks’ 2-1 victory on Saturday.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter said Richards was “fine” a couple of hours before the game, but the center was scratched from the lineup.
Los Angeles forward Brad Richardson and defenseman Drew Doughty gingerly skated off at separate points of the first period, but both returned to the ice.
The series took on a more physical tone in the second game in two days — a rarity in the playoffs brought on by The Rolling Stones’ tour.
The top-seeded Blackhawks also won the series opener in each of the first two rounds, but they dropped three in a row following their Game 1 victory against Detroit in the conference semifinals.
There was no such letdown this time.
Shaw got Chicago off to a fast start, taking a nifty pass from Viktor Stalberg and sending a wrist shot past Quick on the glove side just 1:56 into the game. Marian Hossa set up Seabrook in the final minute for a low liner into the left corner. The defenseman put the Blackhawks into this round with an overtime goal in Game 7 against Detroit on Wednesday.
The Blackhawks added two more in the second, separated by just 2:09. Bickell scored a power-play goal on a rebound in front, and Handzus skated in and beat Quick to make it 4-0 at 9:20.
The capacity crowd of 21,824 roared after Handzus’ second goal of the postseason, and cheered even louder when Quick skated off and was replaced by Jonathan Bernier. Quick, last year’s playoff MVP who had played every minute of this year’s playoffs, finished with 13 saves.
Carter converted a one-timer at 18:57 of the second, and Toffoli netted a power-play goal with 1:02 left in the game, but that was it for the Kings.
The Blackhawks killed three other power plays and have allowed just two goals in 47 attempts in the playoffs.
Crawford heard chants of “Co-rey! Co-rey!” after he stopped Dustin Penner on a quality opportunity late in the second, and the salute resumed when he pulled Kings forward Kyle Clifford off Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews during a scrum with 8:45 left.
Crawford improved to 10-4 in the playoffs and has allowed just one goal in five of the last six games.
NOTES: Kings rookie D Jake Muzzin was scratched after playing in the first 14 postseason games. … Crawford was 1-1 with a 3.54 goals-against average against Los Angeles during the regular season.
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