Blackhawks, Sharks take series leads

WIDE OPEN::The New York Islanders and the Montreal Canadiens both won to pull even in their series against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Senators respectively

AP, CHICAGO

Sun, May 05, 2013 - Page 18

Chicago’s Patrick Sharp provided the finishing touches after Michael Frolik laid the foundations, scoring two goals each as the Blackhawks beat the Minnesota Wild 5-2 on Friday to take a 2-0 lead in their NHL playoff series.

San Jose also went up 2-0 — and the Sharks have done it on the road — by beating Vancouver, while the New York Islanders and the Montreal Canadiens both won to square their series 1-1 against Pittsburgh and Ottawa respectively.

Chicago’s Patrick Kane added two assists and Bryan Bickell added an empty-net score for the Blackhawks, who lived up to their dominant regular season form much more than they did in a shaky overtime win in the series opener.

The Blackhawks focused on a better beginning to Game 2 and they delivered.

“That’s something we talked about,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.

“Very disappointing the other night. We were more on the receiving end. They scored first and we watched a little bit. We didn’t dictate how the game should be played as far as how fast we wanted it. Tonight, we were much more effective,” he added.

Devin Setoguchi and Marco Scandella scored for the Wild, who are making their first post-season appearance in five years.

“There was clearly another level to their game tonight and I’d say there’s at least another level to ours that was unfortunately in the wrong direction,” Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said.

Game 3 is today in Minnesota.

San Jose’s Raffi Torres scored 5 minutes, 31 seconds into overtime to give the Sharks a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks and one skate in the next stage of the playoffs, with two home games coming up.

Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, whose goal in the final minute of the third period forced overtime, also scored for San Jose.

The Canucks took their sixth consecutive loss in a home playoff game. Now, they might not get another one after winning their fifth consecutive Northwest Division title.

Ryan Kesler scored two third-period goals for Vancouver, helping the Canucks overcome a 1-0 deficit that stood since the first period.

New York’s Kyle Okposo scored his first career playoff goal with 7:37 remaining to lift the Islanders to a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Matt Moulson, Colin McDonald and Matt Martin also scored for the Islanders, who spoiled Sidney Crosby’s comeback from a broken jaw by rallying from an early two-goal deficit.

Crosby scored twice in the game’s first eight minutes as the Penguins raced to a quick 3-1 lead, but they could not hold it as the Islanders bounced back from a lifeless performance in Game 1 and won their first playoff game in more than six years.

Game 3 is today in New York.

Montreal’s Ryan White started a three-goal second period and goalie Carey Price was back in top form with 29 saves as the Canadiens beat the Ottawa Sentaors 3-1 to square the series.

Brendan Gallagher and Michael Ryder also scored for Montreal. Milan Michalek scored for Ottawa, which was let down by a power-play unit that went nought-for-four.

Ottawa’s Eric Gryba drew a two-game suspension for a big hit on Montreal’s Lars Eller in Game 1, so was absent for the Senators.