Chicago at Detroit (4/11/09)

The Chicago Blackhawks were in Detroit to play the Wings this afternoon for the first of a home and home series that concludes tomorrow. This is the second to last game of the season. Chicago has a playoff spot locked up so this was the first game in a while where the Wings were playing a team that wasn’t fighting for their lives.

The starting goalies were Cristobal Huet for the Hawks and Ty Conklin for the Wings. Oddly enough, Chris Chelios was playing forward in this game. He was on a line with Meech and Maltby. The Red Wings were sporting their Winter Classic jerseys for this game but the Blackhawks chose not to do so.

There were a couple of news items before the game started, and what great news it was. First, Hossa does NOT have a tear in his groin. It’s just a little sore. He’s expected to miss these last two games and be ready to go for the playoffs. Second, Franzen signed an ELEVEN YEAR DEAL with the Red Wings at less than four million per year! How great is that?!?! I’m giddy! Franzen probably could have made nearly six million per year on the open market. It sure is great to see players that are more concerned with winning and team loyalty than with money. That means we have Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and now Franzen all locked up for a long time. If we can somehow get Hossa signed as well it would the most impossible dream come true. If that happens then they should make a statue of Ken Holland and put it up with the rest of the Red Wings greats.

This game got off to a bit of rocky start. Just 16 seconds into the game the Blackhawks scored on a long shot from the point by Niklas Hjalmarsson. It was a rising shot but Conklin had a good look at it and there were no deflections. He just missed it. Conklin wanted that one back for sure. It was so early in the game that I don’t think he was really ready for a shot. It must have surprised him a little. Conklin had a couple of shaky saves after that but after a few more he seemed to settle down and get into a rhythm.

With about nine minutes left in the period Detroit scored a nice power play goal to tie the game. Hudler picked up the puck near the side of the net and passed it to Filppula at the bottom of the circle on the other side. He shot it quickly and beat Huet for the goal.

The first period ended with the score tied at one. The Wings were outshot by the Hawks 13 to 6 up to that point. The first period didn’t have nearly the intensity that we’ve seen in recent games. That was probably because the outcome of the game was not really important to either team.

There wasn’t much action in the second period. It almost felt like a preseason game. Neither team wanted to play too hard since the game’s outcome didn’t matter. Nobody wants to risk injury just before the playoffs in a meaningless game.

With 1:02 left in the second period Cleary took a shot and the rebound came off Huet straight back to the high slot area were Zetterberg was moving up. He cranked one that beat Huet to give the Wings the lead one to two. This was after a long stretch during which the Wings were in the Chicago zone and the Blackhawks couldn’t get a good clear. They had finally just got it out of the zone and then mistakenly passed it right back to Cleary.

With the third period about halfway done, the Hawks scored on what was their first shot of the period. Eager got the puck in the high slot and ripped a hard wrister that beat Conklin to tie it up at two.

With 27.6 seconds left in the game and the score still tied Byfuglien was awarded a penalty shot on a terrible call. Kronwall was called for hooking when there was no hook whatsoever. He simply lifted the stick. It was a perfect defensive play by Kronwall. On the penalty shot Byfuglien shot and scored on Conklin to give the Blackhawks the lead with very little time left.

Conklin went to the bench for the extra skater but the Wings weren’t able to score. Chicago scored an empty net goal to make it two to four.

For a meaningless game this one was fairly entertaining. It’s too bad about the crazy outcome but it doesn’t really matter and we get a rematch tomorrow.

This 2-4 loss brings us to:
51-20-10
112 points

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