By Jon Fromi
Despite being outshot 43-27 and outplayed for much of the first two periods, the Chicago Blackhawks were able to earn a point with a late goal in Joe Louis Arena. Todd Bertuzzi provided the overtime winner as the Red Wings prevailed 3-2 in a Saturday matinee. Detroit bested the Blackhawks in extra time for the second time in less than a week.
Chicago remains on top of the Central Division by taking the game into 4-on-4 time, though Detroit and St. Louis now trail the Blackhawks by a single point in the standings.
The ‘Hawks wakeup call came a bit late, as Detroit parlayed a dominating first period effort into a two-goal advantage. The Red Wings camped out in the Chicago zone, outshooting the Blackhawks 21-4 and keeping Chicago on their heels for most of the period.
Corey Crawford was up to the challenge on 19 of those shots, controlling the rebounds well until the 12:46 mark of the first. Pavel Datsyuk collected a rebound off a Johan Franzen shot with his team on their only power play of the game. He fed Ian White, whose slap shot was redirected by Tomas Holmstrom past Crawford to open the scoring for Detroit.
Minutes after, Chicago had a golden opportunity to tie the game when a loose puck came off the boards, bounced over Jimmy Howard’s stick, and slid in front of the crease with Michael Frolik bearing down on net. Frolik’s attempt was stopped thanks to the left leg of Howard.
Bertuzzi found himself open down the ice on a shift change, as did Datsyuk. Brent Seabrook got a piece of the stretch pass, but it wasn’t enough. Bertuzzi took in the puck and backhanded it over Crawford’s glove.
Chicago wasn’t able to generate a lot of offense throughout most of the first forty minutes. It took another fortunate bounce to get the ‘Hawks on the scoreboard.
In the fifteenth minute of the second period, Nick Leddy dumped the puck into the Detroit zone. As Howard went behind the net to collect the puck, it came off the heel of his stick and toward the front of the net. This time, Andrew Shaw was there to scoop up the loose puck and the rookie took advantage. Shawblade cut the lead in half with the put back, breathing some life into Chicago’s game as the teams went to the locker room with Detroit up 2-1.
Unlike the first two periods, the Blackhawks came out fast and furious to open the final stanza. It was Chicago’s turn to bombard Howard, doing so with ten shots in the first five minutes. Shaw took a high stick from Drew Miller in the seventh minute, and the appearance of blood led to a double minor and a huge opportunity.
For the next seven minutes, both teams flew around the ice without a stoppage in an exciting display of speed and skill. The Red Wings killed all four minutes of the power play, both goalies turned away scoring chances and the score remained 2-1.
As the final minute approached, Crawford was pulled for an extra attacker. Joel Quenneville called his time out with just under a minute left to set up a play. Jonathan Toews beat Datsyuk on the draw, getting the puck to Duncan Keith at the point. Keith went across the ice to Marian Hossa, who fired a shot towards the Promised Land. With a stopover off Nicklas Lidstrom’s skate, Hossa’s package found the back of the net to make it 2-2 with 51.7 ticks to play.
Having surrendered the lead late, Detroit dominated the 4-on-4. The Blackhawks never got a shot on goal while the Red Wings whacked away at Crawford. In the final minute, Bertuzzi executed a nice give and go with Valtteri Filppula, knocking in the bouncing rebound from Filppula’s shot to end the game.
-Todd Bertuzzi was first star of the game, despite the fact that he shouldn’t be allowed to earn a living playing hockey right now.
-Shaw continues to shock and surprise with his ability to handle the NHL game. Sure, he took advantage of a crazy hop, but he made his own luck by hustling to the net.
-Shaw played 15:17 while Jimmy Hayes got 12:33 in ice time. Bryan Bickell played 7:11 of forgettable hockey. It looks like he will avoid being sent to Rockford before the team honors him at Blackhawks Night with Nick Leddy, but only thanks to the waiver rules.
-Crawford played really well and is the prime reason that Chicago was able to come away with a point. He stopped 40 of 43 shots on the afternoon.
-The booing of Marian Hossa when he has the puck rivals San Jose’s booing of Brian Campbell in similar circumstances. Neither player was in those places long enough to merit the ire they draw. That would be like ‘Hawks fans booing Chris Campoli. Soup and Hoss don’t play for your teams anymore. Go to a library, check out some architecture books, then build a bridge and get over it.
-Just three penalties between the two teams. Obviously I’d enjoy these last two game with Detroit if the ‘Hawks were on the other end of things, but it’s hard not to like the fast-paced, back and forth action that breaks out when these teams meet.