Hawks can’t clip Wings fall 3-2 in OT

 

It seems every time the Blackhawks play the Detroit Red Wings something big is at stake. Today’s game was no exception and with the big lights of the national stage shining as well. There’s nothing like a little Doc Emrick and Eddie Olczyk in the morning. Forget Saturday morning cartoons give me Saturday morning NHL hockey. I hoped the Blackhawks all had their coffee with an early 11:30 puck drop but I don’t think they did.

The Blackhawks will be battling these Red Wings along with the St. Louis Blues all the way until the end of the season for supremacy in the Central. Every game these two play will be vital. This was the first meeting on the Red Wings turf where this season the Wings have an impressive home record of 16-2-1 coming into this game.

The Blackhawks were going up against Jimmy Howard (2.04 GAA .924 SV %) who is red hot with 25-10-1 record coming into the game. There would need presence in front of the net to get goals past Howard and a lot of SOG which did not happen.  

The beginning of the game was all Detroit as they came out fired up and ready to play. It seemed like the entire first period was played in the Hawks end of the ice with Crawford keeping the Blackhawks in the game early with good rebound control not allowing second chance. Crawford made brilliant saves when Holmstrom and Emmerton broke in on a stretch pass.

The Blackhawks were outshot in the period 21-4 and also were losing the faceoff battles as well with 14-9 Detroit leading. The way the rhythm of the game was going you knew it was only a matter of time before Detroit would score. They scored on the power play with Kruger in the box in his first game back from concussion. White blasted one from the point that was redirected by Holmstrom. Then on a bad line change and a good stretch pass from Datsyuk Bertuzzi came in on a breakaway and beat Crawford 2-0 Detroit.

Andrew Shaw - if Chicago wasn’t in love with you before they are now. A funny bounce off of the Joe boards came right to Shaw in front of a wide open net and he did not miss putting it past Howard 2-1 late in the second period. The Blackhawks needed that goal badly as nothing was going their way until that point and it seemed to give the Hawks some life.

The script was flipped in the third with the Hawks swarming in the Wings zone. The Hawks outshot the Wings 15-2 in the period. The Blackhawks were fore-checking not only with the forwards but the defensemen as well which had them totally dominating the Wings in their end. Jimmy Howard had to be as stellar as Crawford and kept his team in the game.  The level of play in this period was at a playoff level to be sure. It looked like the Hawks were on a power play which they were not until Hawks got a 4 minute pp when Miller highsticked and caused Shaw to bleed. The Red Wings killed off still 2-1 Detroit.

What a game this one turned out to be. With Crawford pulled from the Hawks goal Hossa blasted one that went off Toews skate past Howard from the back blueline and beat him on the stickside to a 2-2 tie and we would head into overtime.

I hope for everyone these two teams meet in the playoffs and every game is nationally televised for everyone to enjoy. There is just something magical when these two teams get together. Two similar highly skilled teams with an Original Six rivalry thrown in for good measure always in a tight contest making for some great competition and this one did not disappoint. This IS what hockey is all about.

NBC and the NHL have to be licking their chops every time these two play each other what a great marketing tool these games are for the league and network.  Each team got at least one point and I guess that is only fitting when these two play that each team should get something for all their efforts.

 Again you got the feeling whoever made the first mistake would be the one only getting one point. That is exactly what happened as Detroit dominated the play in OT and Todd Bertuzzi left alone in the slot beat Crawford for Detroit with his second goal of the game and had Detroit winning 3-2.SOG in OT 9-0 Wings. Detroit is ahead in the series 2-1 til next time.

The difference in this game was in the first period when the Hawks let up too many stretch passes and odd man rushes. The Hawks didn’t get their legs until the second period and were poor on the forecheck which cost them. They again gave up way too many shots on goal and if it were not for Crawford being on his game this one would have been over early. SOG for the game was 43-27 Wings. Forty three shots on your goalie is way too many and this is a continuing problem the Hawks have.

Again the Hawks weak power play surfaced it’s ugly self and cost the Blackhawks as well when they did not convert on the four minute penalty in the second. Maybe the Hawks need to talk to someone at the Department of Energy because they need some omph. 

Against a team like the Red Wings you have to play a full sixty minutes and show up for all the periods including OT and shoot out. You got the feeling if the Blackhawks would have played better in the first or OT they would have walked away with the W. The scary thing is the Blackhawks really only played well in the third period and still almost won this game which I think gets them into trouble many times.

Still this game was excellent so it is hard to be mad at the Hawks because it was such an entertaining game. The Blackhawks walked away with at least one point and hopefully some valuable lessons learned. They continue to lead in the Central by a slim point over the Wings with the Blues playing later tonight the standing could change again. The Blackhawks play the Red Wings again on 2/21 at the United Center and I for one can’t wait for their next meeting.  

 

Three stars of the game – 3) Hossa  2) Datsyuk  1) Bertuzzi

 

Hawks next play again Sunday @ the United Center vs. the San Jose Sharks which can be caught on WGN or WGN Radio 720. Start time is early at 6:00 pm CT

 

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