Detroit at Chicago (3/7/10)

The Red Wings were in Chicago today for an early afternoon game against the Blackhawks. Jimmy Howard was in net for the Red Wings and Cristobal Huet was the starter for the Blackhawks.

In the first period the Red Wings came out firing. They had a lot of energy and were getting a lot of scoring chances. Unfortunately they weren’t getting any luck. A few minutes into the game Seabrook took the puck all the way from his own end, through the neutral zone and deep into the Red Wings’ end without anybody bothering him. He shot the puck on net and Howard turned it aside sending the rebound to the other side of the ice. Keith picked it up at about the top of the circle. He fired it from there and the puck hit Rafalski in front of the net. It bounced off his leg into the net giving the Blackhawks the early one to nothing lead.

After the goal Detroit continued playing well. They had some really good scoring chances. Howard gave up another bad rebound which he put right in the slot and it almost turned into a goal. Luckily, they avoided disaster on that play.

Then Filppula charged into the corner to pick up a puck that Lebda had over skated. Filppula tried to tap it ahead just a few feet to Lebda but Lebda was expecting him to send it up the boards and out of the zone so he missed the pass. Ladd didn’t miss it though. He immediately ripped one than burned Jimmy Howard for the Hawks’ second goal of the game.

The first period ended with Chicago up two to nothing. Even though there were no goals I thought the Red Wings looked really good offensively. The problems that I saw were mainly some terrible rebound control by Jimmy Howard, and some bad giveaways and miscommunication in their own end. I thought they were battling hard and had a good energy level. Shots on goal were pretty even. Chicago had a lot more blocked shots and Detroit had a lot more hits.

Early in the second period the Blackhawks had a power play. They got the puck in the net but it was waived off because the referee said Byfuglien bumped Howard. It wasn’t much contact but the ref felt it prevented Howard from doing his job. He also felt that it didn’t warrant a penalty.

Then at the other end Holmstrom bumped Huet and WAS penalized. I don’t understand what the difference was between the two plays except that the Red Wings didn’t score. At the same time Bolland was called for tripping so it was four on four.

During the four on four Franzen was hit in the face with a high stick so the Red Wings had a four on three power play. Lidstrom passed across to Rafalski who one-timed it. The puck hit something, possibly Seabrook. It changed direction and went in the net bringing the Wings to within one.

Then, less than 30 seconds later, Detroit got the puck in deep. Filppula dug it out of the corner and passed it back to Lidstrom who fired it with Bertuzzi in front of the net. Huet didn’t see it very well thanks to Bertuzzi and it went in the net. That goal tied up at two each. The Hawks called a timeout at that point to settle things down.

A few minutes later Rafalski brought the puck into the Chicago end and passed it to Zetterberg. He shot it but it was blocked and then it came right back to him. He passed it to the front of the net where Williams was closing in. As Williams was falling down with two guys on his back he swept the puck into the net giving the Red Wings the lead three to two.

Just a few minutes after THAT, Bertuzzi brought the puck in and passed it to Filppula in the slot. He skated to the net and shot one that beat Huet. That made it four to two Red Wings. That was the end of the game for Huet. Apparently, he was a little bit rattled. Joel Quenneville pulled him and put in Niemi.

Near the end of the second period Bertuzzi was hit by Eager. They both fell awkwardly together and they banged knees on the way down. It took a long time for Bertuzzi to make his way across the ice to the bench and then he went right to the dressing room. He did not return to the game so let’s hope this won’t be a serious knee injury.

As time was expiring in the second period Kane tried to shoot the puck but Datsyuk took it away from him and started up ice all alone. He moved in on Niemi and shot it through the five hole for Detroit’s fifth goal of the game. It came with under three seconds to go in the period and made it five to two Red Wings.

Early in the third period Versteeg was hounding Zetterberg as he tried to get the puck out of his own end. He forced Zetterberg to lose control of it and Madden was able to tip it to Johnsson. He passed it across to Ladd who shot it and beat Howard. It was a great play by the Hawks and it made it five to three Wings.

Later in the third, right off a faceoff win, Keith shot the puck from the point. Ladd redirected it down and it bounced a few times and went between Howard’s legs. It slowly rolled across the goal line bringing the Hawks to within one and making it a hat trick for Ladd.

The Hawks applied a lot of pressure from then until the end of the game. There were several close calls but the Red wings were able to hang on and win the game five to four.

This game was quite a test for the Wings. They played one of the hottest teams in the league and held their own. They were even able to battle back and win after giving up an early two goal lead. The only real downside was losing Bertuzzi. Let’s hope he won’t miss much time, if any.

One unusual note about this game was that all nine goals were scored at one end of the ice. All of Chicago’s goals were in the first and third periods and all of Detroit’s goals were in second. Not even an empty net at the end was enough to get the puck in the net at that side of the ice. Weird!

This 5-4 win brings us to:
31-22-12
74 points

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