By Brad Vadenberk
Saturday night at the UC showed how a resilient Hawks team can play and dominate a hockey game if they seem so fit to do so. The word elimination is still lingering around as the Hawks travelled back to Joe Louis Arena to continue this series and look to force a game 7 back at the UC on Wednesday night.
Jonathan Toews finally got his first 2013 playoff goal. He scored it in fashion, ripping a shot from the side of the net off Jimmy Howard. The captain’s roar was so loud even the hockey Gods heard it.
You can tell the Hawks were playing with urgency. During both power play goals the puck was moving around the ice with speed and crisp passing. This was something that was missing in earlier games.
So it looks like it takes an elimination game to wake the Hawks up and play their game. You know what they say about waking a sleeping bear?
The line up remained the same as game five because, if it ain’t broke, why try and fix it? Dan Carcillo, Sheldon Brookbank , Brandon Bollig, and Jamal Mayers remained out. Mayer had been fined earlier in the day for shooting pucks in the Detroit goal during warm ups in game 5. Corey Crawford continued to take the number one spot in net and Jimmy Howard also kept his crease on the Red Wings end.
The first period was exactly what the experts claimed it would be quick fast hockey. Marcus Kruger gets a great chance early on. Johan Franzen comes back the other way and almost gets the home team on their feet.
Detroit is victim to the first penalty of the game. Jakub Kindl hammers Michael Frolik as he tries a simple dump and chase into the offensive zone.
It took no more than 9 seconds into the power play to score. The urgency that the Hawks showed on the power play in game five appeared once again. Toews won the faceoff back to the point. Duncan Keith fired a shot on net and Hossa was there to tip it past Howard.
The goal was called on the ice right away, but the refs did convene for a short minute before reviewing to see if Marian Hossa knocked the net off before the puck crossed the line. The ref pointed to center ice and the Hawks take a 1-0 lead just 16:07 into the period.
Toews continued his red carpet walk to the penalty box, falling into Howard and getting the goaltender interference penalty. During the Wings man advantage, Johnny Oduya sends a puck over the glass but it barely grazes the meshing giving the Hawks a break. Brandon Saad almost breaks away shorthanded and the Hawks kill off the penalty. The speed of Chicago begins to shine as Patrick Sharp gets a half break away but Kyle Quincey makes a great effort stopping the shot attempt.
Right before the one minute mark of the period, Patrick Eaves gathers a rebound and rips it past Crawford tying the game at 1-1. The period ended with both teams putting 10 shots on net.
It didn’t take long for the Hawks to get a chance to break the tie. Just 1:08 into the middle frame, Franzen tries to impale Niklas Hjalmarsson’s head into the boards. He gets called for a rough and that is all. Just as that penalty ends the Wings get caught with too many men on the ice and the Hawks head right back to the power play.
Toews had a nice chance while the Wings were shorthanded, but Howard kept the game tied at 1. Both goalies needed to stay sharp with both teams coming hard to the net.
Joakim Andersson walked over the blue line and lets a sloppy knuckle-puck looking shot go that fools Crawford’s glove hand, giving the Wings a 2-1 lead.
Justin Abdelkader and Michal Rozsival get mixed up in front of Crawford and head to the box. 4 on 4 hockey is exactly what these two teams enjoy. Moments after the first penalty, Rozsival gets called for high sticking. The Hawks are able to kill off the penalty and end the period being outshot 18-10 and down 2-1.
Just 51 seconds into the final frame the Hawks tie it up at 2-2. Michal Handzus stood all alone in front of the net and places a shot over Howard igniting the Hawks.
Pavel Datsyuk begins to put on his clinic using his fancy foot work and trying to finish the Hawks season off.
Toews continues his dominate for check and sends a puck on net. Bryan Bickell is standing in the same spot he scored in game 5 and made no mistake tucking it past Howard giving the Hawks a 3-2 lead.
The speed of the forecheck continues from the Hawks fourth line. Frolik breaks away and Carlo Colaiacovo takes a last minute slash and the ref points to center ice indicating a penalty shot.
The Joe was sitting on the edge of their seats. Frolik walked in and goes back hand on a perplexed Howard and the Hawks have a 4-2 lead.
The Wings show their frustration when Datsyuk heads to the box for tripping. During the power play Sharp gets called for tripping as well. The Wings gain 45 seconds of power play time, but cannot capitalize.
With 1:23 left in the game Henrik Zetterberg gets called for tripping giving the Hawks a power play for the remainder of the game. But wait, Hossa gets called for a trip and the power play is quickly transformed to a 4 on 4. Damien Brunner rifles a shot from the top of the circle beating a sprawling Crawford and the few people left at the Joe cheered.
The game ends with the Hawks pulling out the 4-3 victory forcing a game 7 on Wednesday night back at the UC.
-The Hawks were outshot 38-28.
-The Hawks went 1 for 5 on the power play while the Wings were 0 for 3.
-Toews was 12 for 24 in the faceoff dot while Andrew Shaw lost all 5 of his face offs.
-Oduya led all Hawks with 24:37 TOI with Hjalmarsson right behind him with 24:16.
-Viktor Stalberg only saw 7:35 of ice.
-Hawks now head back home to host game 7. It is now officially do or die.
On Twitter: @CMM_Brad