After the Anthem the Hawks came out flying in the first period with a steal by Jonathan Toews that set up a great chance by Brandon Saad that was blocked at the last second but the tone for the game had been set on the opening shift. The Hawks put on a forechecking clinic in the first minutes of the contest that was almost suffocating to the Red Wings. Gustov Nyquist took the first penalty of the game, and the suspect Blackhawks powerplay took the ice. Half way through the man advantage the Wings had the chance to clear the zone but Patrick Sharp broke up the outlet and Toews picked up the puck and fed Marian Hossa for a one-timer that he didn’t miss blasting it past Jimmy Howard. The Hawks with their great pressure looked like they were going to blow out the Red Wings doors, but Detroit was up to the task. The Hawks gave up too much ice to Damien Brunner who got a shot off and then knocked in his own rebound to tie the game at one. The Wings were physical from the start with even Justin Abdelkader hurting himself when he took a run at Michal Rozsival. The Hawks after a great start had to fight off two Andrew Shaw penalties to get to the first intermission tied at one.
The second period was all Blackhawks in every aspect but the scoreboard because after 40 minutes the score still stood at 1-1. The Hawks best player was Brendon Smith who continued turning the puck over to the Hawks but luckily for him Howard continued to bail him out. The Hawks forechecking was persistent with one sequence late in the period having Dave Bolland and Andrew Shaw winning the puck back time after time with it all ending up with the puck on the stick of Bolland but Howard was up to the task. Abdelkader seems to have taken over as the Detroit Bad Boy especially after his first period run then in the middle of the period he and Bolland body slammed each other to the ice. This was a period where Crawford only saw five shots and none of them were very difficult partly because the Hawks D was blocking many good Wings opportunities. The Hawks pressure even caused coach Babcock to call a timeout. The Hawks needed to carry over the momentum to the third period.
The Hawks carried over the momentum they had built up in the second period and brought it right into the third period! In the last two periods the Hawks outshot the Wings 36-14 and that pretty much describes the advantage the Hawks had for the final two frames. The Hawks fore check was in full effect with them putting massive amounts of pressure with only Howard in the way of the floodgates totally opening up. The Hawks finally took the lead when the fore check of Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp won the puck and Johnny Oduya snuck in and put it passed Howard for the lead. Even with the lead the Hawks didn’t step off the gas pedal and their forecheck was back at it again when the puck got stuck on the net Howard tried to dislodge it but it was kicked out in front and Marcus Kruger put a back hand top shelf for a 3-1 lead. The Wings only had one good shift the last two periods and it was Brent Seabrook with the tremendous save to keep it 3-1. In the final two minutes the Wings pulled their goalie but Patrick Sharp got the puck on the side boards and skated it in for the empty net goal and the final tally in the Hawks 4-1 victory.
-Corey Crawford now has the best Goals Against Average in the playoffs at 1.32.
-The Hawks are 41 games over .500 with Johnny Oduya in the lineup since his trade last season.
-The Hawks are 5-1 this post season without a single goal from Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, or Brandon Saad
– Next Game is noon on Saturday at the United Center
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Tags: Stanley Cup Playoffs