The Chicago Blackhawks were 20 minutes away from elimination on Monday night, but they used a blazing start to the third period to win Game 6 in a 4-3 laugher over the Detroit Red Wings.
Michal Handzus, Bryan Bickell and Michael Frolik all scored for the Hawks in the third period, and Corey Crawford ended up stopping shots as the Hawks forced an all-or-nothing Game 7 Wednesday night at the United Center.
We’ll have plenty of reaction to this game, as well as previews for Game 7, on the blog in the next few days, but for now, here are Monday’s Three Stars:
Third Star: Jonathan Toews
Toews took yet another incredibly ill-advised penalty in the second period, but he came back with a vengeance in the third period. He started winning more faceoffs, started back-checking more aggressively and teamed up with Marian Hossa to give Bickell a chance to get to the front of the net on the Hawks’ third goal of the game.
Granted, he did have another chance to score on a breakaway late in the game and was unable to convert, but for the most part in the third period, he was doing what needed to be done and was instrumental in helping the team to Game 7.
Second Star: Bryan Bickell
Bickell has come up large for the Hawks in more ways than one in these playoffs, and he came up huge yet again on Monday night.
On the Hawks’ third goal, it was Bickell’s presence in front of Jimmy Howard that allowed him to pound a rebound home to give the Hawks a stunning 3-2 lead in the game. He only played 12 minutes, but his two hits, two shots on goal, and takeaway made his impact even bigger than his time on ice would indicate, and his play represents how well the Hawks’ depth players have been playing in the last two games of this series.
First Star: Michael Frolik
On all the highlight shows, you’ll see an endless loop of Frolik’s penalty shot goal against Howard in the third period. It was a thing of beauty, with Frolik deking to his backhand and flipping a top shelf shot past Howard’s glove.
What was even more important to the Hawks in this game was once again how well Frolik played in defensive situations. His backchecking throughout the game was superb, and he also helped the Hawks to yet another perfect performance in the penalty killing department.
The Hawks are a team primarily composed of stars, but it has been the guys like Frolik and Marcus Kruger that have been the team’s backbone all season long, and they showed that again on Monday night.