CHICAGO - There’s something about playoff hockey that gives Chicago Blackhawks forward Michael Frolik a knack for finding the net.
That was the case in Friday night’s Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals against Minnesota as Frolik scored two goals, just one shy of his regular-season total, in Chicago’s 5-2 victory.
Frolik scored three goals in 45 games this season.
“That’s the third year in the playoffs now he’s been able to step up and score key goals,” said Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp, who also scored a pair of goals. “He’s a great athlete, he’s in great shape, he makes the most of his minutes.”
Frolik followed through on Chicago’s game plan to get off to a fast start by scoring the first goal 8 minutes, 34 seconds into the opening period. Skating through the left circle, he found the puck on his stick and sent a wrist shot over the right pad of Wild goaltender Josh Harding to put the Blackhawks in front 1-0. One of the assists came from defenseman and Eden Prairie native Nick Leddy.
In the second period, Frolik notched his second point of the night on a shorthanded goal, thanks to a Wild turnover at center ice. After reaching the Minnesota blue line, Frolik passed the puck and got a return pass from Duncan Keith. He sent an off-balance shot from the slot past Harding to give the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead just 49 seconds into the period.
The 25-year-old native of the Czech Republic now has six goals in 13 career playoff games, and four in his past six.
“It’s hard to say, I don’t really know what it is,” Frolik said of his success in the postseason. “Tonight I got a lucky few bounces. You try to have a little bit extra in the playoffs, and I’m glad those bounces went in. Sometimes you need a little luck and be in the right spot, and tonight that happened.
“I just try to play the game and work hard and those bounces came tonight.”
Frolik was picked in the first round, 10th overall in the 2006 NHL entry draft by Florida. He came to Chicago in a five-player trade in 2010.
After scoring two goals with three assists in seven postseason games in his playoff debut with the Blackhawks in 2011, Frolik added a pair of goals in just four games in last season’s first-round matchup against Phoenix.
Playing on Chicago’s fourth line with center Marcus Kruger and left winger Brandon Bollig, Frolik has been a key part of the team’s depth.
“We showed that all season long we have good depth, and we showed it in these two games, too,” Frolik said.