Tomas Kopecky Stings Former Team, Blackhawks Down Red Wings
After losing both halves of a home-and-home against the speedy Colorado Avalanche, many were unsure of how the Chicago Blackhawks would answer heading into a huge contest against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday.
The Blackhawks answered that question very quickly.
Chicago struck fast, with a pair of early goals, and another great performance between the pipes from Corey Crawford snapped the Hawks' skid and moved them back into the top eight in the Western Conference.
Patrick Sharp kicked off the scoring just over a minute in, slapping home a one-timer on the power play. Just a few minutes later, Bryan Bickell tickled the twine in his third straight game to give the Hawks an early 2-0 edge.
The Hawks and their fans got a bit of a scare when Patrick Eaves scored on the Wings' first shot of the game, narrowing the deficit to 2-1. However, that would prove to be all the offense that Chicago's rivals from the north could muster up.
Former Red Wing Tomas Kopecky took home Second Star of the Game honors, after netting a pair of goals against his old squad. Kopy tallied midway through the second, before adding the empty netter to seal the deal for the Hawks.
Most of Chicago's success on Friday can be attributed to the play of their blueliners. After taking the brunt of the criticism during the Hawks' recent skid, the Hawks D-men, especially Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, stepped their game up in the win.
Each of the Blackhawks' top four defensemen finished with a plus rating, while combining for four assists as well. Two of those came from Brent Seabrook, who struggled mightily against Colorado. The top four for the Hawks played well on both ends of the ice, giving Hawks fans a display that they hadn't seen in recent games.
As he has done so many times in the last few weeks, Corey Crawford was a wall in the crease. He stoned Detroit for 29 of their 30 shots, stopping all 29 of those in a row after allowing a goal on the first. Those numbers included stopping All World forward Henrik Zetterberg on all of his team-leading five shots.
Chicago will get a day of rest before hosting another tough team in the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings have fallen on hard times after a scorching start, but both Hawks' wins against the Kings this season have been grinders. Sunday shouldn't be much different.