The Chicago Blackhawks jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but the Detroit Red Wings were determined to make a game of it, and they ended up knocking off the Hawks in a 5-4 shootout victory.
Marian Hossa, Andrew Shaw, Patrick Sharp, and Marcus Kruger all scored goals for the Blackhawks, but it wasn’t enough as Darren Helm scored the shootout winner in the sixth round.
The Blackhawks got off to a really hot start against the injury-depleted Red Wings, and they created some good chances early. One such chance came as Nick Leddy broke into the offensive zone on a line change for the Hawks, and he found Mike Kostka at the point, who drilled a shot on Jonas Gustavsson, who was barely able to steer it wide and keep the game scoreless.
A few minutes later, the Blackhawks were able to capitalize on that start as they got on the board with the first goal of the game. Bryan Bickell kept a play alive in the corner of the ice, and when the puck found its way to Jonathan Toews along the side of the net, he slid a pass to Hossa, and the puck bounced off his leg and into the net to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
Less than two minutes later, the Blackhawks struck again. This time, it was Shaw starting the rush, as he found Brandon Saad streaking up the ice. Saad got to the goal, but was stopped by Gustavsson. The Detroit goaltender couldn’t smother the puck however, and after Patrick Kane’s shot hit the crossbar and the far post, Shaw cleaned up the mess in the crease and tapped in the easy goal to move the Blackhawks ahead 2-0.
The Red Wings responded less than a minute later with a goal of their own. After Brendan Smith’s shot from the point hit Johnny Oduya’s skate, Tomas Tatar was able to grab the loose puck and slide a shot along the ice and underneath Crawford’s leg pad to get the Wings back within range at 2-1.
As the period wore on, the Red Wings kept pressing the Hawks with scoring chances, and eventually they were able to take advantage of the pressure. When Oduya tried to cover a stick-less Justin Abdelkader in the near faceoff dot, the Wings’ forward was able to kick the puck to Patrick Eaves, who wheeled around and fired a wrist shot over Crawford’s glove and into the top shelf of the net to tie the game at 2-2 with just over two minutes remaining in the first period.
Just like the first period, the Blackhawks started out the second period with their collective hair on fire and collected the first five shots on goal of the frame. Eventually, that pressure paid off as the Hawks were given a power play, and they scored within five seconds of the puck drop. Toews won the face-off, and the puck eventually cycled around to Sharp, whose slap shot beat Gustavsson thanks to the screen of Shaw and Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall, and the Hawks grabbed the lead back at 3-2.
Once again, the Wings were able to respond to the goal, and they tied the game back up just over a minute later. After Kris Versteeg beat out an icing call in the offensive end of the ice, the Wings quickly gathered steam and pushed into the zone, and eventually Gustav Nyquist was able to find the trailing defenseman with a pass, and Kyle Quincey’s shot didn’t miss, beating Crawford and tying the game at 3-3.
The goal seemed to take some of the wind out of the Hawks’ sails, and the Red Wings capitalized on the momentum as they took the lead five minutes later. Brent Seabrook caught up to the puck near the goal line, but instead of cycling it around, he tried to hold onto it. Abdelkader forced the puck loose, and it eventually found its way to Nyquist, who got the puck past Crawford to give the Red Wings their first goal of the evening at 4-3.
After a Saad penalty, the Blackhawks seemed to finally settle down a bit, and both Crawford and Seabrook made a couple of key plays to keep the deficit at one. Seabrook made two big shot blocks in the sequence, and Crawford was able to stop a Henrik Zetterberg one-timer from the slot on a nice lateral move across the crease.
As the third period got underway, the Blackhawks once again seemed to be dominating puck possession time, and they picked up an early power play. They weren’t able to score on that, but eventually the pressure got to the Red Wings, and a careless pass by Brendan Smith across the zone was intercepted by Kruger, and he fired a gorgeous wrist shot off the post and into the net to tie the game up at 4-4.
After that goal, the game became a bit of a track meet, with both teams getting some huge chances at both ends. On a Blackhawks’ power play, the Hawks got a couple of nice looks by Hossa, but he ended up in the box himself after cross-checking a Wings forward, and Detroit grabbed a couple good chances of their own on the ensuing man-advantage. Abdelkader had the best one of that group, but once again Crawford was able to fight his way through traffic in front of the net and keep the game tied.
The Blackhawks ended up having to kill a penalty with about five minutes left in the game after Keith was sent to the box, but it was Chicago who ended up getting the best chances of the sequence. Hossa and Toews got in on a rush against Gustavsson, but somehow “The Monster” was able to keep two straight Hossa shots out of the net, and the Wings escaped without any damage.
The final minutes saw a couple more great chances, as the Zetterberg line pressed hard with less than two minutes remaining. The Blackhawks followed that up with a won face-off with about five seconds left, and Shaw was able to get a sharp-angled shot on net that Gustavsson had to fight off to force overtime.
Both teams got a couple of nice chances in the frame, but defensive plays were the story of the day. Keith made a brilliant stick-check to break up a Wings scoring chance, and then Danny DeKeyser made one of the plays of the game when he tied up Toews’ stick near the goal mouth after a Seabrook shot bounced free from Gustavsson.
In the first round of the shootout, Tatar put a shot off the near post, and Toews deked Gustavsson out of his pads and slid the puck into the net to give the Hawks a 1-0 edge. Eaves fired another wrister past Crawford to tie things up at 1-1 in the top of the second inning, but Sharp was able to return the favor as he went backhand-to-forehand and beat Gustavsson glove side to give the Hawks back the 2-1 lead. Todd Bertuzzi extended the shootout with a slapshot goal past Crawford to tie it at 2-2, and Kane wasn’t able to finish it off as he flew up the ice towards the net and was barely stopped by Gustavsson.
Zetterberg started off extra innings by going stick side on Crawford, but he missed the net wide. Hossa’s slapshot attempt was then stopped by Gustavsson to keep things tied at 2-2. Tomas Jurco tried to go fancy with a between the legs deke, but Crawford sealed off the near post well. Gustavsson returned the favor by stopping Kruger’s attempt to end the fifth stanza with the score still tied at 2-2. Darren Helm fired a wrister past Crawford’s stick side to push Detroit out in front, and Shaw’s attempt was stoned as well, and the Red Wings escaped with a 5-4 shootout win.
The Blackhawks won’t have much time to sulk after the loss, as they will head to Minnesota to take on the Wild on Thursday night.