Detroit at Chicago (4/11/10)

After a grueling season of ups, downs and injuries the day was finally here. Game number 82. The Wings were facing the Blackhawks in Chicago. The goalies this afternoon were Howard and Niemi.

Both teams started this game with a lot of jam. The game had a great pace and it seemed like playoff hockey. With about five minutes left in the first period Draper was called for interference. On the power play the Hawks got the puck to the net and a scramble ensued. Toews pushed it toward Howard but Howard blocked it back out. It hit Bolland’s stick at that point and bounced between Howard’s legs and into the net making it one to nothing Hawks.

In the second period Cleary got the puck to the front of the net and Niemi stopped it. The puck looked like it hit Madden’s stick and just sat there in the crease for a second. Eaves came flying in and banged it home before Niemi could react. That tied the game at one.

After two periods the Wings were being badly outshot 23 to 12. The Hawks did have one more power play than the Wings had but I doubt they had 11 shots during that extra power play. In the faceoff department he Wings were also being dominated 17 to 11. The numbers looked pretty bad except for the score which was still tied at one.

Nearing the halfway point of the third period the Wings were on the offensive. They had the puck in deep and it squirted back to the point. Rafalski fired it from there and Holmstrom was in front of the net. Holmstrom knocked it down and into the net to give the Wings the lead two to one.

A few minutes later Hossa sent the puck to the net as Fraser went to the front with Stuart on him. Fraser put the puck in the net off his skate but it wasn’t kicked in. That tied it up at two each with a little over nine minutes left.

The Blackhawks had a power play in the final few minutes of the game but the Wings killed it off. They had some great chances but they were turned away by Jimmy Howard and the Red Wings’ defense.

Regulation ended with the score still tied at two so each team got a point.

In the overtime there was a great back and forth battle. Then with just under two minutes to go Zetterberg got the puck in the zone but was triple teamed along the boards. He managed to get a pass to Cleary at the other side of the ice. Stuart was flying up the slot and Cleary hit him with a perfect pass. Stuart fired a wrister that beat Niemi for the win.

This win put Detroit in 5th place which means they’ll be playing Phoenix in the first round of the playoffs. The one good thing about that is that the time difference is slightly better than playing in Vancouver. It’s still rough though. The Blackhawks end up in the second place and they’ll be facing the Predators in round one.

It sure was a heck of a season for the Wings. They overcame a lot of adversity this season. They also are in the midst of a hot streak and they have a red hot goaltender. Just the way you’d want to start the playoffs. Let’s hope for a great run starting next week. Let the beards begin!

This 3-2 win brings us to:
44-24-14
102 points

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