The Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings will battle each other twice in the next four days, and it was the Hawks that drew first blood as Artemi Panarin notched two goals in a 5-2 victory at Joe Louis Arena.
Patrick Kane picked up a goal and two assists in the game, and Brent Seabrook scored his 13th goal of the season as the Blackhawks moved ahead of the idle Dallas Stars for first place in the NHL’s Central Division.
The Blackhawks didn’t waste any time getting on the board in the game, scoring just after the two minute mark in the contest. Teuvo Teravainen drove into the zone and fired a pass to Erik Gustafsson, who then found a pinching Seabrook. The defenseman skated to the circle and ripped a slap shot past Petr Mrazek to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
The pace of the game continued to remain high as the first period wore on, with the Blackhawks securing the majority of the scoring chances. Artemi Panarin had a great shot toward the net that sailed just wide, and then Richard Panik was denied on the short side by Mrazek. Christian Ehrhoff had a tremendous chance near the end of the period off a feed from Jonathan Toews, but the puck rolled on him and the defenseman was unable to get a shot on net.
The second period saw the Red Wings begin to find their rhythm on offense, and Corey Crawford was up to the task. Henrik Zetterberg registered several key chances in the early stages of the frame, and then Justin Abdelkader had two straight chances near the blue paint that the Hawks’ netminder was forced to knock away.
Crawford’s stellar play was ultimately rewarded late in the period, as the Blackhawks converted on a 5-on-3 power play. Patrick Kane registered his 86th point of the season on the play as he ripped a pass across the netmouth, and Artemi Panarin did the rest as he easily flipped a one-timer past Mrazek to give the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead.
Less than a minute later, the Blackhawks finished off the power play with a flourish and another goal. This time Kane did the honors himself, as he collected a pass from Duncan Keith and fired a wrist shot home to put the Hawks ahead by three goals with one period left to play.
In the third period, the Blackhawks seemed to be in full control of the proceedings, but the Red Wings had other ideas. After Kane was sent off on a slashing penalty, former Blackhawks center Brad Richards unleased a low shot that went through a screen and evaded Crawford to make it a 3-1 game.
Just when it looked like Detroit was going to stage a comeback, the Blackhawks responded with two goals of their own. Andrew Ladd scored his 18th goal of the season, and his first since rejoining the Hawks, with about six minutes to go in regulation time, and Panarin added his second goal of the night a few moments later off a feed from Kane to make it a 5-1 game with a little over five minutes to go.
The Blackhawks gave up another goal late, but it was of little consequence. Tomas Tatar ended up with the goal as he deflected a shot from Gustav Nyquist past Crawford to make it a 5-2 game with only two minutes to go.
The Hawks won't have a lot of time to savor the victory, as they'll have to head to Boston for a Thursday showdown against the Bruins.