Blackhawks Big 2 (Kane, Toews) Control Game 2

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It was the Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane show during the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 game 2 victory at San Jose. The Hawks’ two most iconic players zipped around the ice in Silicon Valley like an Intel core i7 processor. And pretty soon, they could make the San Jose Sharks as outdated and useless as a 286 CPU. (Apologies for the tech nerd metaphors, hey, when in San Jose). Two is indeed a magic number, as Chicago has two down, and two to go to reach their first Stanley Cup Final since ’92. The big two, and their coach, the Q Stache had a lot to say about last nights game 2 victory

–Paul M. Banks

“Taser” tied Stan Mikita’s franchise record by reaching the score sheet for his 11th straight postseason game. Toews, who had a goal an assist, commented on the Hawks record tying seventh straight road playoff win.

“You want to kill penalties, you want to play with energy and create as much as you can in the offensive zone when that happens to be your role,” Toews said.

“A lot of offense has just clicked.  Buff (forward Dustin Byugflien) has been great on our line with Patrick and I since he’s been playing with us.  Whether it’s on the power-play or five-on-five, we’re working hard. We’re not taking any shortcuts for offense,” Toews continued.

The Blackhawks are the fifth team to win seven straight road games in a postseason, joining Colorado (1999), New Jersey (1995), and the New York Islanders (1980 and ’82).

Patrick Kane was +1 for game 2, and chipped in two assists. He also thought very highly of Byfuglien’s contributions to their line Buff seems to be a playoff performer.  “It’s exciting for us to play with him when he’s getting a lot of pucks back.  Usually with myself and Toews, played with each other for a while, so we have some chemistry,” Kaner said.

“I think it’s a tribute to our whole team.  Sometimes it’s tough for teams to match up against us because we have so much depth and so many lines that can score.  When you have four lines, it’s tough to pick who to defend, I think that helps out a lot,” he continued.

“You know, like Kaner said, the pressure is not just on our line to score.  That’s why we’re working hard.  I think if we keep doing things right the way we have, we’ll keep having success,” Toews added.

Of course, this year’s Western Conference Finals is a whole different world from last year’s, at least in the eyes of the Hawks players. According to Patrick Kane:patrick-kane-jonathan-toews

“I think last year, the goal was probably just to make the playoffs and see where we went from there.  We had a lot of success.  Once we got to this point, it was almost like, you know, I wouldn’t say we’re not supposed to be in this situation, but it was kind of just a thrill.  We knew we were playing a tough team like the wings, where they’ve had so much success and so much experience.  We thought they would be tough to beat.  Can’t really have that mindset.

This year, I think from the first game on, we’ve had the expectations to get to this point.  We wanted to prove ourselves.  We pretty much have the same team with a couple different changes.”

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville shuffled guys around on Toews and Kane’s line. The best fit so far seems to be big Buff. Quenneville articulated how Dustin Byfuglien’s abilities complement the big-name scorers. “He’s got a quick stick.  I think he complements the other two guys with their play-making ability, plays around the net.  Byfuglien  seems to be the disrupter.  His stick has been pretty dangerous,” he said.

Game three will be back in Chicago, and could Coach Quenneville knows the first few minutes will be crucial towards determining whether the Sharks will make this a series, or sink into Davy Jones’ Locker.

“Starts are something we stress coming into this building. I expect a noisy crowd, very supportive in our favor.  Take advantage of it, use it in our favor,” Coach Q said.

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