Blackhawks Refuse to Lose; Topple Red Wings 2-1 in OT


The Chicago Blackhawks continued their winning streak last night by way of a 2-1 overtime victory against their Central Division rival Detroit Red Wings to move to 6-0-0 on the season, their best start in franchise history.
Not too bad.
The winning tally came just over halfway through the extra period, when a Detroit turnover in the Chicago defensive zone led to a deep outlet pass to Hawks winger Viktor Stalberg. Stalberg carried the puck into the offensive zone and hit Nick Leddy with a cross-ice pass that the Chicago defenseman promptly buried over Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard's left pad to send the United Center crowd of over 21,600 to their homes in a most celebratory mood.
While Leddy's goal closed out the scoring for the night, it was another Chicago blueliner that got things started in this tilt.
Duncan Keith rocketed a frozen rope of a shot into the top of the Detroit cage that sent both the home crowd and Howard's water bottle up in a frenzy. The goal was set up by Marian Hossa digging the puck out of the right corner and dishing it to Brent Seabrook at the right point. Seabrook walked the puck to the middle of the ice before feeding it across to Keith, who moved into the left faceoff circle and slapped a beauty over Howard's near shoulder.
Despite controlling play for long stretches during the game, Detroit was unable to muster any scoring until 4:30 into the third. Johan Franzen picked up a blocked shot off the stick of freshly-minted Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg and snapped the puck through Blackhawks net-minder Corey Crawford.
Had Detroit been able to capitalize on its earlier chances, their third period tally might have been the put-away goal. Crawford would have none of that, though, turning in arguably his best start of the young season with 29 saves on 30 chances; lowering his GAA to 1.78 in the process.
Detroit squandered six power-play opportunities on the evening, including an abbreviated 5-on-3 chance in the second period. The Wings inability to get their power play going has been a glaring problem during their 2-2-1 stretch to start the season, with Sunday's exercise in special teams futility pushing their power play conversion rate to an atrocious 7.7% on the year.
Meanwhile, Chicago continues to rank among the tops in the league on their penalty kill, having now given up just one goal on 23 chances for opposing teams.
Chicago will now take their league-leading show on the road, with a six game road swing starting on Wednesday night in Minnesota.
* * *
Final Score: Blackhawks 2, Red Wings 1
Chicago Goals: Keith (PPG), Leddy (GWG)
Detroit Goals: Franzen
Three Stars:
3) Marcus Kruger - CHI
2) Pavel Datsyuk - DET
1) Corey Crawford - CHI
Winning goalie: Corey Crawford 1 GA / 0.967 SV%
Losing goalie: Jimmy Howard, 2 GA / 0.926 SV%
Next game: Wednesday, 1/30 at Minnesota Wild, Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota
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