After a playoff-shortened season, the NHL gets the kind of finish it can only have dreamed about.
Going into tonight's game between Chicago and Detroit, the last five teams standing are those who have won the Stanley Cup over the past five seasons: Detroit (2008), Pittsburgh (2009), Chicago (2010), Boston (2011), and Los Angeles (2012). Four major, long-time hockey markets, and last year's defending Cup champs.
The only way the league could have scripted it any better is if the Final comes down to the Blackhawks versus the Penguins, the two powerhouses of the NHL and regular-season winners of their respective conferences in a winner-take-all showdown.
The Blackhawks got off to a solid start in game six, the kind that won them game five. Marian Hossa got a power play goal just 3:53 into the first to give them a leg up. Chicago was controlling the puck, pressuring the Red Wings, and outshooting Detroit.
Patrick Eaves tied it up by putting the Red Wings on the board with just 1:09 left in the first.
Chicago let the Red Wings dictate the pace of the game in the second. Detroit drew even on shots on goal, then by the end of the period, were outshooting the Blackhawks 28-20. The Red Wings also owned the faceoff dot through two, at 65%.
In Saturday's game, it was said that by the time the Blackhawks were u...
Coach Joel Quenneville knew that something had to be done to get the Blackhawks back on track for the series, so he started out with a change on who took the first faceoff. Michael Handzus took the first faceoff of the game on the first line spot usually reserved for Jonathan Toews.
The Blackhawks made a much better start to the game than they had in the past two, spending more time in the Red Wings' zone and getting back to the style of puck possession that they prefer, instead of constantly chasing down the opposition. Additionally, the Detroit defense kept making bad turnovers at the beginning of the game. Things were looking good for Chicago.
After the outcome of game three, the reports of the demise of the Detroit Red Wings were grossly underestimated.
The Chicago Blackhawks knew going in that the Red Wings were going to do whatever they could to get them off of their game. Detroit's strategy working thus far. The Red Wings beat the Blackhawks 3-1 to take a decisive 2-1 lead in the best of seven Western Conference semifinal.
Game three was a much chippier affair. Both teams combined for 12 penalties. Seven of which were committed by the Blackhawks. Detroit continued to w...
As the series shifts to the Motor City it is now the best of five series with each club notching a victory. Chicago has now lost home ice advantage in this series and need to reclaim it quick. The Blackhawks do not have to wait long with a quick turnaround time.
Games one and two were mirror images of each other with vastly differing results for each club. In game two Detroit found their skating legs with ample time off to rest and it appears they have recovered from the Anaheim Ducks series and are looking like the Detroit Red Wings that have gone to 22 consecuti...
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 pas...
The Blackhawks and Red Wings will match up again but don’t expect the Red Wings to come out the same as they did in game one. Look for the Red Wings to push back after falling decisively in game one. The Wings will have had time to study film and make the necessary adjustments.
The Wings will look to improve their skating speed and pace of their game. Look for them to come out flying and apply a heavier forecheck in the Hawks zone this game.
The Wings will also look to correct the fact that in game one they were outshot by a 2-1 margin. Look for them to try and get...