by Vince Maranto on 04/07/12 at 07:00 PM ET
When the Hawks play the Wings, no matter what time of year it is, there is going to be a Play Off atmosphere. The games are always hard fought, exciting, physical, and usually decided by one goal. And so it was. With 48 seconds left in the game, the Hawks were on their way to the 5th seed, to play Nashville (be careful what you wish for) in the opening round. A second later, Datsyuk changed that. The Hawks did go on to win in a Shoot Out, but the 5th (Either Nashville or Detroit) & 6th seeds were already sown at the end of regulation. The Hawks will play either Phoenix, San Jose, or L.A. in the first round. We will know that result later on tonight.
It was Crawford (29-17-7) vs. Howard (35-17-3). both goal tenders played solid between the pipes in this one. The first advantage in the opening period went to Chicago with an early 4 minute Power Play off a high stick. The Hawks showed why they are 27th in the league (77%) by doing what they’ve been doing for the last 80% of the season. For the last time in the regular season, it was failure to win the opening draw, followed by failure to get the puck in deep & get set up, and then too many passes. Needless to say, no score. The period moved on in a fast paced manner, with very few whistles. Stalberg, on a rebound, put the Hawks up 1 - 0. A successful Penalty Kill was had later on. Crawford was very solid in this peiod, although both goalies faced only 9 shots each.
Less than 2 minutes into the 2nd period, the Hawks had another PP opportunity. Same thing, same result. Both teams again played very well and kept the pace of the game up to a fast level. Crawford’s glove was big today.A save form Datsyuk to Bertuzzi stands out as one of those. A Hawks Penalty Kill came in again, with Detroit hitting the post twice in this one. Crawford & the Hawks fought it off, for the score to remain the same.Another Hawks PP came up empty, but for once, they had some momentum coming out of it. Shaw who was denied by Howard during the PP took a pass from Sharp, as both teams were at full strength, and scored. 2 - 0, Hawks. Both teams would be tied in shots on goal again, 21 total each.
The Hawks 3rd period PP actually resembled a Power Play until an errant pass ended that. Franzen put the Wings on the board, squeezing one in on Crawford from a bad angle. 2 - 1 Hawks. If I have one knock on Crawford, it’s the way he plays a solid game, only to let a “dumb goal” past him. As he has in the past, Crawford went back to playing well after letting that one in. At the end of the game, the Wings pulled Howard. The game was then tied, as earlier written. The Hawks the pulled Crawford, with noting to lose & everything to gain, but no score change. It’s weird to see a goalie pulled in a tie game, but this is one of those few exceptions where it makes sense.
The Overtime was even more exciting than regulation. The Hawks threatened early, but then it was the Wings. No score.
In the shoot out Datsyuk went through the legs, but did not score. Kane, not to be out done, went through the legs the other way and scored. That would be all that was needed, in the long run.
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