Bryan Bickell is putting the puck in the net at a tremendous rate in these playoffs, and he doesn’t show signs of really slowing down.
He scored again Thursday, as the Chicago Blackhawks came back to beat the L.A. Kings by a final score of 3-2 and took a 3-1 series lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference final.
His wrist shot handcuffed Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick, evening the score at 1-1 in the first period.
Bickell has scored a goal in each of the last three games and has eight in the post-season. That puts him alongside teammate Patrick Sharp for second among NHL players in goals these playoffs.
He isn’t flashy. The reason for his success is as simple as it gets this time of year.
“He’s got a great shot. And probably the biggest thing, he’s hitting the net now,” said Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook, according to a tweet from Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago.
Bickell is eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer, and, based on his performance this spring, he’s on his way to a big raise.
He is currently in the final year of a three-year, $1.625 million contract.
Bickell could’ve had two goals Thursday, but teammate Patrick Kane got his stick on the puck as it trickled toward the net. It was Kane’s first goal of the series.
Bickell deflected a Niklas Hjalmarsson point shot, and the puck got through Quick, but Kane tapped it into the open net.
“Just to make sure it goes in, I’ll take it. He’ll take it, too, to give him a little spark,” said Bickell, as per a tweet from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.