by Vince Maranto on 01/14/12 at 06:00 PM ET
The Blackhawks played the Red Wings for the 3rd time in 16 days, this time at the Joe in Detroit. Judging by the previous two games, you knew a couple of things for sure. One that it was going to be a great game, and secondly that it would probably be a close score. It didn’t look that way at first, by any means, but it would end up that way. More on that later. Crawford (16-10-3) was in net for Chicago against Howard (25-10-1). For Chicago, Ben Smith was sent back to Rockford on the return of Marcus Kruger. The slight line changes were, 2nd line- Frolik, Bolland, Hossa, 3rd line- Kruger, centering Brunette & Shaw, 4th- Bickell, Mayers, Hayes.
The 1st period was a nightmare for Hawks fans. In the first 7 minutes it was all Detroit, out shooting the Hawks 10-0! Crawford was tested right from the start. In a game that saw only a few penalties, the Hawks were on the Penalty Kill first. The Wings took full advantage of it, on a redirect from Holmstrom. Hey, if you’re getting killed 5 on 5, what chance do you have short handed. Bertuzzi put the Wings up 2-0 on a break away. When all was said and done, the Hawks were fortunate to only be down 2 - 0 going into the locker room. Detroit out shot Chicago, a ridiculous 21-4.
I sensed slightly more energy by the Hawks to start the 2nd period of play. Andrew Shaw scored on a open net after a weird bounce off the boards was misplayed by Howard. 2-1 Detroit. A much needed Hawks Power Play - pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, no shot- proved to be ineffective, and the score remained the same. Again, it felt fortunate after being basically overpowered for two periods, to go into the locker room only down by one goal. The Wings, after 2 priods still dominated the shots on goal 29-11.
For the 3rd period, it was a total reversal for the two teams from the 1sr period. The Hawks played hard and dominated the first 5 minutes. This time it was Chicago that took the first 10, unanswered, shots on goal. If not for GREAT goal tending on BOTH teams, the score would not have still been 2 - 1!! What I deemed as a “must score” was a double minor, high stick call against the Wings. Detroit held Chicago off, same score. There were then assorted shots off posts, breakaways, great saves, and near misses for both squads. Crawford was pulled with 1:35 left. With 51.7 seconds to go, Hossa tied it up 2-2. I held my breath for the last minute wanting to steal at least a point out of this one…...... whew, overtime.
It was all Detroit in the OT, and with 38 seconds left Bertuzzi whacked a rebound out of the air for a game winner. 3-2 OT win (sound familiar?) Detroit. It’s too bad it didn’t go to a shoot out. With the way both goalies were playing, we may have seen EVERY bench player shoot!!
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