Bryan Bickell lives for the playoffs.
The Blackhawks' burly left wing is an enigma in the regular season to head coach Joel Quenneville because he often appears to play disinterested hockey. But once he gets to the playoffs, it's a different story.
Bickell was at his best in Game 2 against the Wild. He scored a goal (his fifth of the postseason) on a laser of a wrist shot in the third period, and he had two assists as well. Bickell set Hossa up with a first-period breakaway, and he also gave Saad a tape-to-tape pass on his goal in the third period.
That was the same Bickell who had four—four!—assists during the entire regular season.
Bickell also registered two big hits, as he is not afraid to use his 6'4", 233-pound frame to punish opponents in the corner and win the physical battle.
Quenneville is obviously pleased with the way Bickell is playing now after a difficult regular season. He told CSN Chicago's Tracey Myers that the big left wing is coming into form in the playoffs once again.
His play all year long was ordinary until the end of the year when he was trending, looking like he was going to play in the playoffs. In the playoffs (last year) we gave him a lot more responsibility and he just seemed to grab it; he got more and more quality and quantity of ice time in big games. He earned it, deserved it, got rewarded in the summer and now he’s playing exactly the same way. We’re happy with the contribution we’re getting from him but I thought he and that line had a special game today.