Monday, June 3, 2013
Blackhawks solve Jonathan Quick
By Jesse Rogers
CHICAGO -- As it turns out, maybe Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick is human. The Chicago Blackhawks shocked the hockey world when they chased Quick en route to a 4-2 victory in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. Until Sunday, Quick was unflappable, giving up less than two goals per game in the playoffs, and never more than three.
The Hawks scored four before the game was halfway over.
"It's a good feeling," Bryan Bickell said of chasing Quick. "It means we're playing well. We got to the hottest goalie in the league. It's a confidence-builder."
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick watches Brent Seabrook's goal get by him during the first period of Game 2.
Bickell scored on the power play as the puck hit him in the slot and then defenseman Robyn Regehr, before going in, giving the Hawks an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the second period. But it was the other three goals that made Quick look, well, kind of slow.
"He's a great goalie, but I had a pretty good spot there," Hawks center Michael Handzus said. "I was right in front of him, so luckily it went in."
Handzus scored No. 4 on the night -- the one that chased Quick -- as he and Patrick Sharp worked a two-on-one midway through the game. Quick had his sights on it, but Handzus still got it by him.
In the first period, both Andrew Shaw and Brent Seabrook scored as Quick simply couldn't make the save on shots he was seeing. The Hawks talked about needing traffic in front of him to score, but on this night it came without the chaos of crashing the net.
"I knew he had a good glove, so I didn't want to put it too high," Shaw said of his goal. "Just low, inside the post."
For a guy who scores most of his goals with his back to the net, Shaw probably was as surprised as anyone when Quick couldn't get to his shot.
"I actually got to see this one go in for once," Shaw joked. "It's nice. It builds confidence."
Many a Hawk talked about a confidence-building night against the Kings' goaltender because when Quick is on he has the opposite effect.
"He makes saves that you think you have an open net, he'll come out of nowhere and steal it from you," Hawks left winger Patrick Sharp said. "That kind of screws up your confidence."
For whatever reason, he didn't do it Sunday and then had to leave the ice in the middle of the game with the United Center crowd giving him a helping hand to the bench. Even Hawks goalie Corey Crawford took note.
"You want to beat the other guy on the other side, obviously," Crawford said. "Like you said, my focus is more on their players, what they're doing. But yeah, I definitely want to beat him."
It was pointed out to Quick that until this night he had kept the Kings afloat in the playoffs.
"I'm 1-7 on the road," he quipped. "I haven't done my job on the road."
But he has been their best player as every road loss until this one was by a 2-1 score. So maybe the Hawks have found some answers to beating him and now must take their game to Los Angeles, where the Kings have perfect in the playoffs and have a 14-game win streak dating to the regular season.
"It feels good," Bickell said. "But we still have two more to go."
Except they finally did what no one has been able to do in chasing Quick from a postseason game. He won the Conn Smythe as best player in the playoffs last year, but on Sunday, he may have just lost it for this year.