Blackhawks take 2-0 series lead over the Wild, updates on the Capitals-Rangers series, plus updates on Mike Babcock, Vladimir Tarasenko and more.

Game Recaps and Playoff Headlines.

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford makes one of his 30 saves against the Wild.

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford makes one of his 30 saves against the Minnesota Wild.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES/TWINCITIES.COM: Corey Crawford shook off a third-period slapshot to his mask to backstop the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild and a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series. Crawford made 30 saves, while teammates Patrick Kane (2 goals), Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp scored for the ‘Hawks. Matt Dumba had the lone tally for the Wild. The series shifts to Minnesota for Games Three and Four.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After a shaky performance in Game One, Crawford was solid in Game Two. The Blackhawks defense was also better in this game.  For the Wild, Game Three has now become a must-win. 

NOTE: Games involving Canadian NHL teams are recapped in “Canadian Corner.”

THE WASHINGTON POST: Evgeny Kuznetsov’s goal in Game Two of his Capitals’ series against the New York Rangers is another example of his growth as an NHL player this season.

NEW YORK POST:  Rangers coach Alain Vigneault intends to keep playing his best players against the Washington Capitals’ best in hope of neutralizing the latter, much like they did in their opening-round series against Pittsburgh.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Game Three of the Rangers-Capitals series starts at 7:30 PM ET.

Other Notable Headlines.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Though Red Wings coach Mike Babcock traveled to Toronto Grand Rapids with Wings GM Ken Holland to watch their farm team’s AHL playoff game against the Marlies, no decision has been reached regarding his future plans. Babcock is due to become a free agent this summer unless the Wings re-sign him, and he promises he will make a decision soon.

STLTODAY.COM: The focus of Blues management now shifts to re-signing young superstar forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who was the Blues leading scorer in the regular season, ranked among this season’s top-ten NHL scorers and led the Blues in playoff goals. Tarasenko, who is coming off an entry-level contract with a base salary of $900K and bonuses of $850K, could command over $6 million annually on an eight-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Though there is likely some lingering concern regarding his injury history of the last two seasons, Tarasenko emerged as a true offensive superstar this season, with 73 points in 77 games. Only 23, his best seasons lay ahead of him. I doubt his agent will agree to a two-year bridge deal. While it remains to be seen how long his new contract will be, it will most likely be worth around $6 million annually. 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Two men involved in scamming more than a dozen NHL players of millions of dollars over the course of a decade will stand trial today on federal fraud conspiracy charges. Former NHL players Michael Peca, Joe Juneau and Bryan Berard are expected to be witnesses.