Blackhawks outlast Wings 2-1
On this Sunday NBC featured Original Six matchups. Earlier in the day they ran the Boston Bruins vs the New York Rangers game in what looked like a UFC match more than a hockey game. No there was no John Scott fight just every other Ranger on the team seemed to have his fists flailing. I knew the Blackhawks/Red Wings game would not be like this but the intensity was just as high.
This was the fifth meeting between the two Central Division rivals. Three of their previous four contests have all been played to a 3-2 score with two going to OT & the last one to a 2-1 score. The Hawks record is 2-0-2 which is good that the Hawks got points in all of their previous contests and they needed that trend to continue. Ironically it did by that same 2-1 margin.
Both teams seemed to be staggering to the ice with all of their injuries to key personnel. The Red Wings would be playing without their captain Lidstrom and superstar Pavel Datsyuk. The Blackhawks would still be minus their captain Toews and D-men Montador and Hjalmarsson. The Hawks would need to dig deep for this one where the Wings are tough to beat at Joe Louis Arena.
The Blackhawks were coming into this game with five rookies on their starting line-up: Andrew Shaw, Jimmy Hayes, Dylan Olsen, Brandon Bollig and Marcus Kruger. Could these youngsters elevate their play and the teams to match that of an experienced wily veteran group like the Red Wings? I thought it was expecting an awful lot from these kids but what do I know. These kids held their own. What I also forgot is can a team ever be considered out of it with Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp & Marian Hossa?
This game could have been called the Patrick’s show. Patrick Sharp had a goal and an assist in this game and his goal was on the power play too for the second time in as many games. This goal was set up perfectly by a Jamal Mayers screen in front of Howard who never saw the blast from the point. Patrick Kane finished off the Wings with a nice backhander goal in front of MacDonald who came in at the beginning of second period on what is believed an injury to Howard. Detroit maybe human after all as the Kane goal was due to a turnover in their own end by Filppula right to Brunette who got it to Sharp who found Kane open in front.
The lone Detroit score was by Kronwall but was set up by Helm who did some fancy stick handling past both Kane and Seabrook to find an open Kronwall in the slot to put it past Emery. Detroit scored in the first period of the game.
The Hawks hung on in the third and tightened up as they had four penalties in the first two periods but none in the third. For once it was the special teams that went in the Hawks favor as their penalty kill did not allow a Detroit goal. Although I will put in the caveat they are without Lidstrom who is their power play quarterback.
The Hawks scored on their power play which, dare I even suggest is starting to come around? The key to both Blackhawks goals is bodies to the net for screening and tip ins which is now starting to pay off for the Hawks.
Emery played very well when the Hawks needed him to. The team got a little lucky that they were facing them without their stars and then Howard having to leave the game. There were numerous times the posts were rang behind Emery and it seemed at least three or four times Red Wing players had a wide open net they could not finish on. That’s ok we will take it. How many times has that happened to the Hawks.
· The Hawks special teams I believe is starting to come around. On the penalty kill they are employing active sticks and are blocking shots and passing lanes. I believe there were 13 block shots by the Hawks. The secret to the power play is getting people to the net preferably someone who can screen but just getting bodies there will do.
· The Hawks are beginning to feel like a team. They are fighting for each other and sticking up for each other. Loved that Keith and Seabrook did not take any mess from Detroit when they started to hack at Bolland. Shaw also went rounds with Brendan Smith after he was getting pushed and pulled in the Detroit crease. Way to go guys.
· I’m not really liking the Seabrook/Oduya pairing too much. I do like the Leddy/Oduya pairing and you know I love the Keith/Seabrook pairing.
· Seabrook had the highest TOI with 28:04 had 4 hits recorded and 3 blocked shots to anchor the d core. Hawks just need to make sure they do not burn out the Keith/Seabrook duo. These guys I know are young and in good shape but we don't want them gassed for the playoff if the Hawks get it.
The real star of this game was the defensive play of the entire team. Great team victory and the fact that it was the Detroit Red Wings made it even better. I can’t think of a better present to give Chicago on it’s 175th Birthday than a Blackhawks victory and two points over the Detroit Red Wings. Thanks you Chicago Blackhawks.
Three stars of the game – 1) Sharp 2) Kane 3) B. Smith - Detroit
Hawks play again Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues which can be caught on CSN or WGN Radio 720. Start time is at 7:00 pm CT
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