The Chicago Blackhawks came into Detroit looking to continue their winning ways, but instead they experienced engine trouble in the Motor City as they dropped a lackluster 4-1 decision to the Red Wings on Friday night.
Patrick Kane scored the lone goal of the evening for the Blackhawks, but turnovers and careless passing ultimately led to the team’s downfall in the game. Luke Glendening, Johan Franzen, Tomas Tatar, and Brendan Smith all added goals for the Red Wings as they handed the Hawks their first regulation loss at Joe Louis Arena in their last 12 meetings.
After the Blackhawks failed to score on an early power play in the first period, the Red Wings ended up scoring the first goal of the contest. Kris Versteeg picked up the puck along the boards and blindly passed it to the middle of the ice in the defensive zone. Drew Miller got the puck and fed it to Glendening, who fired it home to put Detroit up 1-0 just seven minutes into the game.
The Hawks seemed to get their legs underneath them after that turnover, with Kane getting himself two grade-A scoring chances against Jimmy Howard. He didn’t score on either of them, but the pressure on Detroit eventually led to another power play for Chicago, and the Hawks capitalized. Brent Seabrook made a nice play to get the puck into the zone, and just as he was hit along the boards he pushed a pass to Jonathan Toews. The Hawks captain slid a pass through the goal crease, and Kane did the rest as he fired a shot just underneath the crossbar to tie things up at 1-1.
The Blackhawks got another power play chance following a breakaway attempt by Brandon Saad, but this time they couldn’t get their offense churning before Toews negated the penalty by being sent to the penalty box. The Red Wings’ power play got a brief turn at the buffet after some 4-on-4 hockey, but Drew Miller’s stuff attempt was denied by Corey Crawford to keep the Wings from regaining the lead.
As the second period got underway, the Red Wings really turned up the pressure with their offense, and Crawford made several great stops early in the frame to keep the game tied up. He was once again let down by his defense however, as a Kane pass to the middle was intercepted by Henrik Zetterberg. He pushed a pass to Franzen, and the Swedish-born forward didn’t miss as he fired a shot past Crawford to make it a 2-1 game.
Just over a minute later, the Red Wings scored again. After a David Rundblad turnover in the neutral zone, the Wings brought the puck into the zone and Joakim Andersson fired a shot high on Crawford. The goaltender made the save, but Tatar was there to collect the rebound and tucked it into the net to extend the Detroit lead to two goals.
Both sides traded scoring opportunities in the later stages of the period, but neither could convert. Tomas Jurco was stonewalled by Crawford in front of the Hawks’ net, and then Saad and Toews each got chances at the other end of the ice. Brad Richards also had a nice chance from in close, but Howard made an athletic save to deny the bid.
The Blackhawks got a late second period power play thanks to a Tatar penalty, but it was quickly wiped out as Andrew Shaw was sent to the box for goaltender interference. The period ended with both sides at four skaters, and the Wings held a two-goal lead.
The third period began with the Blackhawks dominating in shots on goal, but as has been the case in several other contests this season they couldn’t get any sustained attacking possessions. The highlight of the period in fact was a defensive play, as Niklas Hjalmarsson flew down the ice to shut down a breakaway attempt by Riley Sheahan to keep the Hawks’ deficit at two goals.
In the end, the Blackhawks outshot the Wings by a 10-5 margin in the third period, but it wasn’t enough to get the job done. Brendan Smith netted an empty net goal with just over two minutes remaining in the period, and when the final horn sounded the Wings had picked up an emphatic victory.
The Blackhawks will return to the United Center on Sunday night when they face the Dallas Stars. The game will be their final home skate before their annual circus trip, which begins on Thursday in Calgary against the Flames.