By Jon Fromi
The trio the Chicago Blackhawks sent out to the shootout portion of their exhibition loss in Detroit Sunday was a good indicator of what a young ‘Hawks squad was up against in Joe Louis Arena.
Taking shots for the Red Wings were Johan Franzen, Todd Bertuzzi and Henrik Zetterberg. Chicago sent out Brandon Pirri, Michael Frolik and Brandon Saad.
The Blackhawks gave the vastly more seasoned Detroit squad all it could handle but came out on the short end of a 4-3 shootout. Despite the big advantage in experience in favor of the home team, the young men in the Indian head sweaters were more than competitive.
The ‘Hawks found themselves on the power play five minutes into the contest when a Wings goal was negated by a Zetterberg hooking penalty. Bryan Bickell had a decent shot on goal, but Chicago came up empty. This was a running theme throughout the afternoon, as the Blackhawks were fruitless in three tries with the man advantage.
The Red Wings were more opportunistic. Seconds after Daniel Carcillo was sent to the box for interference, Valterri Filppula drew twine to give Detroit a 1-0 lead at the 7:35 mark. Niklas Lidstrom and Zetterberg assisted.
Zetterberg doubled the Detroit advantage in the last minute of the opening period. Franzen got back a rebound, went behind the net, and found Zetterberg for the goal. At this point, Alexander Salak had let two of seven shots by him for scores and the threat of a blowout loomed.
However, the kids got Chicago back in the contest in the second twenty minutes.
Pirri got the Blackhawks on the board with Joe Lavin in the box for holding 7:32 into the second. Following a nice backcheck, the 20-year-old center came down the ice and slapped one past the stick side of Ty Conklin to cut the lead to 2-1.
Just over a minute later, Peter LeBlanc wound up in the box, giving the Red Wings a short 5-on-3 opportunity. Winning the resulting faceoff, Chicago got a man back on the ice seconds before Lidstrom slapped home Detroit’s third goal of the evening.
Pirri and linemates Ben Smith and Jimmy Hayes responded with less than four minutes left in the second. Hayes patiently stickhandled in front of the net and lifted a backhander past Conklin to cut the deficit to 3-2 going heading into the second intermission.
Salak turned away Detroit’s attempts to pull away throughout the final period, and the kids struck again to tie the contest. Smith pressured the puck into open ice, allowing Hayes to find Pirri for the equalizer at the 9:33 mark. Despite being outshot 14-5 in the last period, Chicago hung on to send the game into overtime.
It looked as if the Red Wings would prevail in 4-on-4 time, especially when Nick Leddy got turned the wrong way in the last minute by Cory Emmerton. However, he recovered just enough and Salak made the stop.
Franzen was turned away by Salak to open the shootout. Pirri completed a big day with a successful attempt, and the ‘Hawks held a 1-0 advantage. Detroit’s veterans would take over from there, however.
Bertuzzi evened the shootout with a goal, followed by Frolik’s miss. Zetterberg five-holed Salak to put the pressure on Saad, the hero of Chicago’s win against Pittsburgh Friday. A Conklin poke check ended the proceedings.
- The Blackhawks were outshot 33 to 24. Salak stopped 30 shots on goal and gave his team a chance to win. He had a little help from the post and got taken to school in the shootout. I still think Ray Emery wins the backup job in net with a solid 60 minutes in his next start on Friday.
- Six penalties and three more power play whiffs weren’t pretty to watch, but as more players are sent down this week hopefully it will change. Of course, the ‘Hawks are 0-for-the preseason on the power play.
- Bertuzzi’s shootout goal was a between the legs effort that could have been appreciated more if the player shooting was not Todd Betruzzi.
- Frolik’s shootout futility was exacerbated by two fails on breakaways in regulation set up by Bickell passes.
- After a game to remember Friday night, Saad had a pretty quiet Sunday afternoon. It was the other Brandon (Pirri)’s time to shine. Two goals and an assist. Marcus Kruger’s line started the game but Pirri was the young center that stood out in Detroit.
- Steve Konroyd mentioned Ray Emery’s run with the Anaheim “Mighty Ducks” during the first intermission. No word on sanctions from the NHL or the Disney Corporation.
- Pat Foley and Eddie Olcyk noted Smith’s change to 28, then made the (spot on, I think) case for Steve Larmer as a Hall Of Famer. This prompts the follow up thought: Will enough water pass under the bridge to see Larmer’s sweater up in the rafters?
- Joel Quenneville indicated at the post game presser that Patrick Kane has been lining up at center in scrimmage and may appear there in the future. I’m glad we took care of the center position this summer…oops. Is Q serious, or is a fire being lit under Kruger?