Comeback Falls Short, Nashville It Is
The Red Wings and Blackhawks met at the Joe this afternoon for a final tune-up before the playoffs and a chance to set their respective playoff fates. Detroit fell to Chicago 3-2 in the shootout but was able to secure a matchup against Nashville due to another third period comeback.
Red Wings prospect Riley Sheahan made his NHL debut and had an unfortunate opening shift, taking a double-minor for high-sticking Jimmy Hayes however Detroit was able to kill the penalty. Viktor Stalberg opened the scoring at 10:14 of the first period on a rebound from a shot by Patrick Sharp. The Wings failed to capitalize on a Hossa penalty for hooking and went to the locker room down 1-0 at the intermission. The overall play was even and Detroit edged Chicago in shots 9-8.
The second period was also evenly played but Chicago managed to score again late in the period when Andrew Shaw scored off a great feed from Patrick Sharp. Neither team was able to capitalize on the two power plays they had during the second.
Detroit came alive in the third were finally able to solve Corey Crawford who had been stopping everything Detroit threw at him. Mike Babcock sent out several new lines in an attempt to jumpstart the offense including a line of Nyquist-Datsyuk-Zetterberg that was electric and had several great scoring chances. Johan Franzen scored unassisted on a sharp angle shot at 8:11 to finally put the Red Wings on the board.
The Red Wings applied consistent pressure but couldn't muster another goal until after they pulled Jimmy Howard for the extra attacker. Pavel Datsyuk scored a backdoor goal in the crease at 19:13 from Holmstrom and Zetterberg to tie it up. When the horn sounded to end the third, Detroit secured a first-round matchup against Nashville.
Both teams had several chances in the overtime, Chicago dominated the first half of the extra session and the Red Wings piled on scoring chances in the second half but no one was able to break the tie. Jimmy Howard stopped Stalberg on a breakway with 4 seconds left in the OT end the period.
Datsyuk missed the goal after a slick deke through his legs. Patrick Kane scored on a pretty move at half-speed. Jiri Hudler fired a wrister that Crawford gloved easily. Patrick Sharp fired a slapshot that deflected off the tip of Howard's glove. Tood Bertuzzi had a chance to tie it up but rang a shot off the post.
Detroit will start the playoffs in Nashville by the date of Game 1 is yet to be determined.
A.K. Bennett, @MrAdrianKeith