Blackhawks lose game 2 on home ice 4-1 to Red Wings
On the same day at the Preakness Stakes, the Blackhawks were off to the races early against the Detroit Red Wings.
Unfortunately, much like a race horse, they were spent for the afternoon after the first initial sprint, and got out-skated and out-worked the rest of the game.
Patrick Sharp got a breakaway late in the third. After getting Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard to commit to defending him, Sharp passed it across the ice via Michael Handzus to Patrick Sharp. Howard lunged across the goal, but couldn't stop the Blackhawks sniper making it 1-0, 5:55 into the first.
Detroit was committed to defense after a poor showing in game 1, and displayed better passing than they had in the first game of the series as well. The Red Wings came out of the first ahead on SOG (12-8). The Blackhawks took their food off the gas by the second, and the Red Wings were easily dominating puck possession and shots on goal from there on out.
A clear indication of Chicago's lack of possession was reflected in the fact they outhit Detroit 36-36; the Blackhawks rarely outhit their opponents.
It took almost another twenty minutes, but Detroit tied it early in the second on a Damien Brunner goal, a redirect off Jakub Kindl's shot.
Brendan Smith gave the Red Wings the lead with 3:52 left in the second. Henrik Zetterberg beat Niklas Hjalmarsson and fed Brendan Smith a beauty of a pass for an easy back-door goal to make it 2-1.
Detroit wasn't done, however, and they'd collect goals by Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula in the middle of the third, to make it 4-1 Red Wings.
The Red Wings clearly benefitted from having extra rest day, while the Blackhawks looked as tired and disinterested as if it had been the second half of a back-to-back. Detroit outshot Chicago 30-20, won 55% of faceoffs, and clogged up shooting lanes to block 15 more attempts on goal.
It looked like Detroit was focusing on shutting down Jonathan Toews and his line; Zetterberg was very physical against Chicago's captain, including getting away with an uncalled cross-checking to Toews neck. In short, the Red Wings looked they were playing a playoff game, and the Blackhawks looked like it was a midseason game without any consequences.
Chicago just can't seem to stay out of the box this post-season; averaging 8.6 PIM/game. Fortunately for the Blackhawks, they're the only team left in the playoffs who are still 100% on the PK (24 times shorthanded). It's interesting to note that the team also takes more penalties on home ice (15 vs 9).
Expect the Blackhawks to bounce back with a far better effort on Monday night at the Joe in Detroit.
* * *
Blackhawks goals: Kane
Red Wings goals: Brunner, Smith (GWG), Franzen, Filppula
1) Brunner (DET)
2) Zetterberg (DET)
3) Kronwall (DET)
Next game: Monday, May 20, 7:30pm ET / 6:30pm CT at the Joe Arena in Detroit. (NBCSN, CBC, RDS, and WGN 720 radio)