5 observations: Hawks-Wild, Game 5

May, 12, 2014
May 12
11:40
AM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Here are five observations from the Chicago Blackhawks' 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild in Game 5 of their second-round series:

1. The Blackhawks won partly because coach Joel Quenneville chose to put his top line together again, accessed all four lines and stopped toying with them. The line of Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa was the Blackhawks' best line most of the season. The trio was together most of the regular season and consistently produced. It wasn't until late in the season the three players were separated. They quickly clicked when placed together to start the second period in Game 5. With that line in place, Quenneville was able to distribute his other lines more efficiently. Brandon Saad-Michal Handzus-Patrick Kane, Bryan Bickell-Peter Regin-Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom-Marcus Kruger-Ben Smith made up the other lines. Each line was competent, and Quenneville distributed minutes across the four lines as he had done for much of the regular season. The Blackhawks had become more a three-line team in the playoffs.

2. What Regin contributed shouldn't really be a surprise. The only worry with Regin was whether not playing for a month would impact his game. Regin proved from early March to early April he could play with 11 games with a Corsi percentage (shot differential) of better than 50 percent during that span. There was a stretch in late March-early April where he, Jeremy Morin and Bickell were the Blackhawks' most productive line. Despite Regin's play, Quenneville opted to go with his regulars and put Regin back on the shelf. With Brandon Bollig's suspension and still not trusting Morin, Quenneville went back with Regin in Game 5 after sitting him the first 10 games of the playoffs. Regin picked up where he left with a 70 Corsi percentage and he drew a penalty which led to a power-play goal.

3. Quantity over quality helped the Blackhawks' offense get going in the second period. The Blackhawks began the second period trying to get every puck they could to the Wild's net. They certainly weren't quality shots, but they were building numbers. They had eight shots on net through the first 6:11 of the second period after having six shots on net for the entire first period. They finished with 15 shots in the period and 28 for the game. They hadn't had more than 22 shots in any of the first four games.

4. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford responded from a soft goal and a so-so Game 4. Crawford wasn't solely to blame for the Blackhawks' Game 4 loss, but there were a couple of goals he allowed that he normally doesn't. He wasn't much better early in Game 5. The Wild nearly beat him on a few shots, and he wasn't able to make a glove save on Erik Haula's initial shot, which led to a rebound goal. As the game went on, Crawford got better. He was especially impenetrable in the last five minutes of the game when the Wild were desperate and being aggressive offensively. He stopped all 14 shots he faced in the third period.

5. The Blackhawks allowed the Wild just one power play. After giving the Wild nine power plays, two of which they took advantage of with goals in Games 3 and 4, the Blackhawks were smarter about their penalties. After Brent Seabrook was called for tripping 29 seconds into the game, the Wild didn't have a power play the rest of the evening.
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26