Detroit Survives Hawks' Surge
If there is anything that resembles what a roller coaster ride is, today's matinee game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings certainly takes the cake.
Detroit started strong but let the Hawks back into the game before Todd Bertuzzi scored his second goal of the game in overtime to seal a 3-2 win; Detroit's 14th consecutive home victory, which ties the team record.
The Red Wings started the game with a 10-0 shot advantage and turned the momentum into a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. Tomas Holmstrom scored a powerplay goal on a deflection and Bertuzzi converted a breakaway pass from Pavel Datsyuk.
After a dominating first period, the two teams seemed to play more passive in the second, and the only tally came off the stick of Andrew Shaw on a weird bounce from behind the net. Jimmy Howard went to paly the puck behind the cage but the puck hit a crack in the zamboni entrance and slid right on the waiting stick of Shaw.
The third period was a nightmare for the Red Wings. Certainly, if Chicago would have won this game, I would have been livid. It was probably the most disorganized and sloppy period of hockey I have ever seen the Red Wings play. They did not get the puck past center ice in the first six minutes of the period, and Chicago had about a million and two chances to score, including a shot off the post.
Drew Miller took a questionable high sticking double-minor on Shaw (his head was two feet from the ice), but Detroit somehow managed to come out of the disadvantage clinging to a 2-1 lead. Miller was sprung for a breakaway right out of the box but Corey Crawford shut him down.
In the last four minutes, Detroit had two huge chances to put the game away; first a slapshot off the post by Henrik Zetterberg, and the second a shot by Dan Cleary that slipped through the pads of Crawford and sat in the crease for a second. Darren Helm set Cleary up on a two on one after nailing Steve Montador with an open ice hit.
With the extra attacker and a minute left, Marian Hossa, the ex-Wing who was booed the whole game, fired the puck from the point and pinballed it behind Howard to tie the game. Classic Red Wings, right? My dad even called Hossa scoring and tying the game, and for some reason I believed him. It turned out to be true. Too bad Jonathan Toews actually scored as the puck went in off his skate.
In overtime, Detroit dominated and Chicago didn't get a shot on goal. Finally, Valtteri Filppula took a chance from a tight angle, and the rebound sprung out to Bertuzzi in the slot. Right when the puck hit the ice, Bertuzzi hacked it behind Crawford for the win.
Detroit coach Mike Babcock can't be happy with the team's third period performance. I classify it as 'embarrassing.' How can you dominate so much in the first half and lose it in the second? Give Chicago credit for any changes that were made, but it looked like Detroit didn't do anything to counter the offense and smother the Hawks.
Jimmy Howard played a solid game in net. Other than the miscue on Shaw's goal, he made some spectacular stops. He had no chance on Toews' tying goal, either. That's what happens when there is traffic in front.
It could be said that the Red Wings played the complete opposite as they have been of late, starting slow and picking it up later on. They started quick and ended on the limp, but overtime proved to be too much for Chicago to handle.
Detroit takes on the Buffalo Sabres on Monday, looking for their 15th consecutive home victory at Joe Louis Arena.