May 20, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (35) makes a save as Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw (65) looks for a rebound in the second period in game three of the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
This very well could be the Chicago Blackhawks final game until next season, if this series continues trending in the direction that it has been, the last 3 games. The Detroit Red Wings are on a roll, and have the President’s Trophy winners on the brink of elimination.
The Blackhawks will have to solve Jimmy Howard tonight, or it’s all over. The series started off with the Hawks having no trouble getting pucks past Howard, but since the Game 1 blowout, the Hawks have only scored 2 goals in the previous 2 games. Part of the Blackhawks problem, has been in the insufficient Power Play, that has come to the point of it being hard to find any advantage the Hawks gain from the man-advantage. If the Hawks are able to get the Power Play rolling, somehow, this game would be very winnable, and the series would not be much of a stretch as well. Also, getting the stars(or anyone in an indian head sweater). such as Jonathan Toews on the scoring sheet would go a long ways.
As perviously mentioned, Jimmy Howard has been the Red Wings’ biggest difference maker this series, but let’s not forget the shutdown ability of Detroit’s top-forwards Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. Zetterberg has been assigned with the task of shutting down Jonathan Toews, this series, and he has done a marvelous job. Datsyuk, the multi-Selke Award winner, has kept up his trademark ways by keeping the Hawks top forwards off of the score-sheet, leaving the rest of the scoring up to the Hawks great depth of players. The Hawks depth has then been unable to figure out Jimmy Howard. With the Wings’ top forward mainly concerned with keeping the Hawks top forwards out of the back of the net, that has left the clutch goals up for grabs, and have fallen to the least likely of players, such as Jakub Kindl, Gustav Nyquist, and Brendan Smith.
As the series heads back to Chicago, and knowing what we know about the talent levels of each team respectively, it’s hard to see this series ending with the Blackhawks being eliminated at home in 5 games, but stranger things have happened. Detroit has shown that they are still an elite unit after all these years. It should be a great game!