Western Conference Finals, Game 3 (5/22/09)

Tonight Detroit was in Chicago for game three. Chicago’s lineup was unchanged but Datsyuk was out for Detroit. He was apparently injured when a puck hit him in game two. It’s not clear how long he’ll be out but hopefully just the one game. Leino was in to take his spot. The goalies of course were Osgood and Khabibulin.

The game started with a pretty fast pace and a lot of back and forth action. Then Cleary high sticked Toews and apparently drew blood because he got a double minor. The Wings killed off the first two minutes, but on the second minor Chicago scored. The Hawks moved the puck very well once they finally got it into the zone. Havlat gave it to Seabrook at the point. He gave it back to Havlat who sent it across to Bolland. He passed back to Seabrook who one timed it from just inside the blue line. There was some traffic in front of the net, Sharp tipped it and Osgood missed it.

Then about a minute later they scored again. Bolland gave it to Ladd who took a shot on the rush. Osgood stopped the shot but the rebound came straight back and Ladd picked it up again. He pushed it through Osgood’s legs and into the net. That gave the Blackhawks an early two to nothing lead. The first period wasn’t even half over yet at that point.

A few minutes later Kronwall destroyed Havlat with a huge hit along the boards. He had it timed perfectly but Havlat missed the puck so he never had possession. He was clearly unconscious for a minute or two and a few scrums broke out. Kronwall was given five minutes and a game misconduct for interference. Franzen and Byfuglien had offsetting two minute roughing calls. Chicago had a five minute power play which would take them down to under two minutes left in the period. Havlat went to the bench and sat down for a second then went to the dressing room. He was still pretty messed up at that point. Kronwall did leave his feet slightly but that was after the collision. He hit him with his shoulder and the puck was at his feet. This was clearly a penalty based on the result of the hit, not its legality because it was a totally clean hit. Like everyone else, I was worried about Havlat and I truly hope he’s okay and can return to the game.

The Red Wings killed off the five minute penalty and then Ericsson was immediately called for holding.

The period ended with no further scoring. The Wings were lucky that it wasn’t four to nothing. During the penalties there were a couple of absolutely incredible saves and blocked shots to keep the Hawks at two goals in the first. The Wings were outshot by the Hawks 11 to 6 but that’s not surprising since they were shorthanded so much.

Early in the second period, shortly after the power play expired, the Hawks scored their third goal. Versteeg shot one from the point and Pahlsson redirected it. Osgood had moved to stop the initial shot and when it changed direction he had no chance. That made it three to nothing Blackhawks.

The Red Wing first couple of power plays in the second period proved fruitless. They had good chances and even wide open nets at times but couldn’t put it in. It just seemed to be one of those nights where the puck is always bouncing over the stick and somebody is blocking the shot. Then on their third power play they got it back to Lidstrom at the blue line who one timed it and it changed direction off of Pahlsson’s skate and went into the net. That made it three to one Hawks.

The Red Wings really started buzzing then. They started winning the small battles and ended up with some sustained pressure in Chicago’s end. They were able to get a complete change done while the Hawks were pinned in their own end and then they continued pressuring. Samuelsson made a nice pass through everybody to Rafalski and he ripped it from the blue line. Cleary was in front of the net and it looked like he deflected it into the net but Rafalski was credited with the goal which brought the Wings to within one.

Just a few minutes later Detroit scored again to tie the game with just under a minute left in the second. Holmstrom was in front of the net and redirected a shot from Ericsson into the top corner of the net. The goal was awarded to Ericsson so maybe it wasn’t tipped but it sure looked like it was.

The period ended with the score tied three to three. What a comeback by Detroit. The momentum was sure going their way. If they could keep it going in the third they could pull off another slow start victory.

The Blackhawks replaced Khabibulin to start the third period. They put in Cristobal Huet and Khabibulin actually left the bench altogether. Their third goalie Corey Crawford was on the bench as backup. I don’t know if that implies some sort of injury to Khabibulin or not but it seems strange.

The Hawks had more energy than the Wings for the first five minutes of the third. The rest of the third was wild and crazy. There were only six shots for each team but the action was fast and furious. Osgood continued to be great but the Wings couldn’t get one by Huet. The game went to overtime for the second straight time.

About a minute and a half into the overtime Lidstrom broke his stick and Filppula gave him his. The puck came to Barker and Filppula, now without a stick, couldn’t prevent his shot. The rebound sat in front and Pahlsson popped it back to Sharp who had a wide open net to shoot at. He buried it and won the game for the Hawks.

The Red Wings would have been really lucky to steal this game. They played even more inconsistently than they did in game two. They were great when they were on but for at least the first half of the game they didn’t seem to have their legs. If the Wings hope to go all the way this year they’re going to have to get used to starting out full speed right at the start of the game. There’s no time to play tired at this time of year.

This 4-3 overtime loss brings this Western Conference Final series to 2-1 Detroit.

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2 Responses to “Western Conference Finals, Game 3 (5/22/09)”

  1. wingman says:

    Havlat chose to not play the puck! He was looking at it all the way and if you rmember correctly, that is why his head was down. No penalty should have been called except for on Havlat not knowing it was coming. Kronwall was playing great and that took some of the hitting away from the Wings. No sympathy for the idiot who skates with his head down. I wonder what zip code he lives in now?? Go Wings!

  2. SuperFan says:

    I agree with you, but I don’t know if he chose not play it or if he just had trouble handling the puck. Either way he didn’t see the hit coming. The more I see it the more angry I get about the penalty. It was a legal hit! The result looked bad but that’s part of the game. Kronwall got a raw deal!

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