Blackhawks

Five Things from Game 2: 'Our best game all the way around'

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Five Things from Game 2: 'Our best game all the way around'

Sometimes, it’s all about opportunities. When they present themselves, you have to take advantage of them.

The Blackhawks found that out first-hand on Sunday night when they got several chances via the Minnesota Wild and capitalized, taking a 4-1 victory in Game 2 and a 2-0 lead in this second-round series. From Jonathan Toews’ short-handed goal off a 2-on-0 play to Patrick Kane’s two goals, the Blackhawks took what was given and took off.

Just because they’re up 2-0 doesn’t mean they can relax. The Wild will be angry and determined to even this series at home, where they were very good this season. But before we delve into what could happen in Game 3, let’s look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ Game 2 victory.

1. Corey Crawford rebounds. Minus an ugly goal from Matt Dumba early in the third period, Crawford was stalwart in Game 2. He always talks confidence but there’s no doubt he was shaken during Game 1, especially with the Wild scoring three times in the first 10 minutes of the second period that night. When the Blackhawks needed Crawford on Sunday, he was there. Big stops on Mikael Granlund and Zach Parise in the second period, not long after the Blackhawks took a 1-0 lead, drew the “Co-rey” chants. “They had a couple of big flurries in the game but Corey was outstanding in those situations,” said coach Joel Quenneville. “He kept the momentum going our way even though they had a couple of good looks.”

[RELATED: Stars shine bright as Blackhawks down Wild in Game 2]

2. Patrick Kane hits another milestone. Well, we’re calling 101 postseason points a milestone, anyway. It’s an impressive number for the 26-year-old, whose two goals on Sunday night have brought him to that total. He was one of several of the Blackhawks stars who had a strong night. Said Patrick Sharp of Kane: "No drop-off from the regular season. If anything he steps it up. It seems like he’s always scoring big goals. He’s a guy who wants the puck on his stick at all times and you love that as a teammate.”

3. Mistakes cost the Wild. When the Wild is playing at their best, they're a tough team to beat. Just look at what they were able to do from mid-January to April to even get to the postseason after an awful start. But the Wild’s miscues on Sunday hurt. Ryan Suter finished the night a minus-3 and Thomas Vanek was a minus-4. Said Wild coach Mike Yeo of his team’s uncharacteristic outing: “We didn’t make those mistakes. I don’t know what team played that game, but it wasn’t us tonight. It was 0-0 through the midway point of the game. We were doing some OK things without the puck to keep it at 0-0, but with the puck, like I said, that’s not us.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up for the playoff run, Blackhawks fans!]

4. Teuvo Teravainen improving each game. This series is only two games old but the youngster is having a nice showing in it. After recording the game-winner on Friday night, Teravainen grabbed a loose puck and fed it to Patrick Sharp, who scored to restore the Blackhawks’ two-goal lead in the third period. Said Quenneville on Teravainen: “He comes up with a lot of loose pucks. He has good play recognition [and he] made some nice plays off the rush individually and had some decent looks. You like his game both sides, both ways, and he keeps getting better.”

5. Goodbye to Crawford’s black mask. The mask Crawford got for the postseason suffered a costly dent when Marco Scandella’s shot nailed Crawford flush in it on Sunday night. The first concern was obviously for Crawford. He looked a little off not long after that shot but there was no immediate stoppage of play. He stopped a puck or two and then switched masks, going back to his white one, when play was stopped. “Yeah, it was a new one,” said Crawford, who then channeled White Sox play-by-play man Hawk Harrelson. “He gone.”

Blackhawks emergency goaltender Scott Foster made his return at the NHL Awards to present the Vezina Trophy, and it was perfect

Blackhawks emergency goaltender Scott Foster made his return at the NHL Awards to present the Vezina Trophy, and it was perfect

After staying out of the public eye since his historic emergency relief appearance, Scott Foster emerged in Vegas at the NHL Awards and it was perfect. 

The 36-year-old accountant fittingly presented the Vezina Trophy award for the league's top goaltender and joked that he needed to speed it up because he had to get back to work.

Check him out on stage:

What a moment. And well done, NHL. 

Foster stopped all seven shots he faced in 14:01 of action in the Blackhawks' 6-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on March 30.

Nashville Predators netminder Pekke Rinne took home the award, but you can't argue against Foster's 1.000 career save percentage.

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Noah Dobson

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 180 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"A very effective two-way defenseman with good puck distribution and a strong shot from the points on the power play. He is a point-producer with size, who defends and utilizes strong positioning and a good stick in the defensive zone."

NHL player comparable: Brent Burns

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks lacked defensemen that generated offense last year. They also lacked defenders than can ... defend. Dobson is a player who can do both, and if he slips past Vancouver at No. 7, the Blackhawks may have a difficult decision on their hands.

Dobson could solve some of those defensive issues, but it likely wouldn't be in time for the 2018-19 season. He needs time to develop properly.

The Blackhawks like to evaluate prospects based on what their ceiling is and where they're at in their development curve, and if they see major upside here, they'll go for it. It just depends if there's somebody available that they like better.