Patrick Sharp left the puck behind as he entered the offensive zone Saturday, which left him in the ideal position to score. The Blackhawks winger's move afforded him the freedom to loop into the high slot without Kings defenders converging like bloodthirsty sharks, so he could find space and just enough time for what was coming his way. A shot zinged off Johnny Oduya's blade and bounced off the far pad of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, and the rebound arrived at Sharp's feet as if it were laser-guided there. Moments later he deposited it in the net, a Game 1-tying score that was breakthrough and relief all at once. harp now has eight playoff goals, more than any other participant in this year's trudge to the Stanley Cup, and kick-started the Hawks' comeback in a 2-1 triumph over the Kings that created a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference finals. But just as striking as the amount of goals is the often savvy, grinding way in which Sharp has amassed some of them. And his opening score Saturday underscored the larger message: Blue-collar is the blueprint to beat Quick. "Started in our zone with a quick outlet pass from (Michal) Handzus," Sharp said. "We got out of our end clean, attacked on the rush. "We have six (defensemen who) all can skate, all can make plays, and Johnny Oduya made a great play. That's something I think every team works on in practice — to shoot off that pad and go to the net for the rebound. I was fortunate it came right to me." Still, so much of the fortune was of his own making. If the primary idea is to challenge Quick as often as possible, the corollary is creating chaos in front of him and pouncing on chances to score.
Sharp does the grunt work in Game 1 win
Chicago Tribune | Jun 2