ROSEMONT, Ill. - The Toronto Marlies can only hope home-ice advantage will be as kind to them as it was to their opponents.
Jason Krog scored twice - giving him five goals in two games - as the Wolves blanked the Marlies 5-0 in Game 2 of their American Hockey League Western Conference final. Chicago leads the best-of-seven 2-0 as the series shifts to Toronto for Games 3 and 4.
The Wolves have now won four straight post-season games as they seek their first Calder Cup final appearance since 2005.
The Marlies are off to an 0-2 start for the second consecutive playoff series. They rallied to win four of the final five games against Syracuse to win the AHL North Division final earlier this month.
Marlies right-winger Ben Ondrus said the team played terribly from start to finish.
"We didn't get anything going that we set out to do," said Ondrus. "We dug ourselves a hole again and we're going to have to look to get ourselves out of it."
Krog, the AHL's regular-season MVP, followed his Game 1 hat trick with a pair of goals just over three minutes into Game 2, delighting the crowd of 4,204.
"The bounces are going our way and it's always huge to get the first goal," said Krog, a 32-year-old Fernie, B.C., native now in his 10th pro season. "When you score two or three in the first (few) minutes, it's pretty hard to come back from."
Wolves defender Joel Kwiatkowski extended the lead to 3-0 with a power-play goal less than four minutes later. Chicago centre Brian Little, an Edmonton native, and right-winger Joey Crabb each added second-period goals.
The Marlies, meanwhile, couldn't put anything past Wolves goalie Ondrej Pavelec despite five power-play opportunities during the first two periods.
"It's frustrating whenever your power play's not scoring, but I think we were creating chances," said Ondrus. "But we can't sit back and feel sorry for ourselves. We have to go out and play better."
Pavelec turned back 24 Toronto shots as he lowered his series goals against average to 0.50. Marlies keeper Scott Clemmensen saved 18 of 23 shots before Justin Pogge came in to play the third period.
Chicago coach John Anderson lauded his players for improving upon a solid Game 1 effort.
"We didn't do a lot of changes," said Anderson. "But one thing we tried to stop was unforced errors - giving the puck away when we got complete control. We did it about 10 times in the last game and I think we only did it two or three times today."
The series moves to Ricoh Coliseum for games Tuesday and Wednesday, where Toronto hopes to turn the tide.
"The real test comes on the road now," said Krog. "It's going to be a different game when we get (to Toronto)."