Detroit held up against the Blackhawks and put on their best performance in a shootout. Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar got through Corey Crawford for the Red Wings to win 3-2 over Chicago at the United Center Wednesday night. The victory of their heated rival ended a three game skid with a sweet victory.
The Original Six rivals get back at it for a second time this season where it’s the team with the best power play against the team with the best penalty killing unit. Detroit has scored 10 goals on on 29 chances on the man advantage in 10 games. Though their 4-1 win over Chicago did not have a power play goal they are still a dangerous team as they compete for the lead in the Atlantic Division.
Chicago has been knocking down their opponents power play 89 percent of the time but are struggling to be at the top of the central division sitting back in third seven points off the top mark. They would need to stop four of the best scorers on the Detroit end and deal with goaltender Jimmy Howard who was to look better in his second game back in net.
Chicago netminder Corey Crawford was challenged right off the faceoff with Nyquist and Darren Helm nearly getting on the board with a quick play in front that he stopped. The Blackhawks jumped out after Detroit’s chance and started shooting on Howard with all their energy. They got back to back power plays after killing Detroit’s man advantage taking nine shots on their first try and blasted away during their second. Though neither team got on the board, Chicago was clearly on the offense harder than their visitors. Chicago outshot the Red Wings 17-6 showing that a more lively offense would be required from Detroit.
They came out and looked to be strong with possession of the puck but the Blawkhawks fought to regain it and got back to shooting numerous shots in the Red Wings end. There was still no score on the board but midway through the period, Chicago nearly had one with a point blank shot to Howard that went awry flying behind the net for the Detroit defense to clear out the threat.
Detroit was slow to skate which spoke for their lack of shooting to the net. The Blackhawks got a great scoring chance on an empty net try from Captain Jonathan Towes but the puck was never had a chance of crossing the line. After avoiding a second mistake, the Red Wings got their act together and pulled off a great strategic play. On a Detroit shift change, Riley Sheahan got possession of the puck with Helm on his left where the speedy forward saw Tatar across the net gaining the puck and scored the game’s first goal.
It was his 24th of the season but they weren’t able to celebrate it. On a controversial miss by officials, the Blackhawks went offsides on a rolling puck where Brandon Saad got hold of it and fired it on the stick side of Howard to tie the game for his 18th. Detroit tried to get the lead again where Pavel Datsyuk went for a shot off the top of Crawford’s stick losing it leaving the net empty. Detroit wasn’t in position to work on the Blackhawks vulnerability watching the remaining seconds fall off the clock to end the second.
The third period was a battle between two defensive teams who were at each other’s end fighting off the shots of their rival. They held the 1-1 tie strong with little time to make a move while each was secretly was hoping the other would blink first. Detroit got an edge with six minutes left having shot four times took more shots on Crawford that helped them work out something to make worth getting behind the net with 3:47 to go. Helm was still destined to get on the board and he did with a weird fight for the goal where he took a backhander and got help from Brent Seabrook for a 2-1 lead.
Unfortunately the Red Wings were dowsed once again on a similar goal for the Blackhawks. A shot from Kris Versteeg went off Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall where as he viewed it going into the goal, he mistakenly tapped it in tying the game at two with 1:23 remaining. After witnessing all the unusal plays that occurred in the last three minutes, there was little time to get the game winner for either team as overtime would be required to determine a winner.
Helm had the best chance in the five minute period where he took off with the puck and was ultimately blocked five hole by Crawford. Duncan Keith took a similar shot through traffic with 100 ticks left with a centering shot at Howard but the 30 year old sntched the puck to end the play. A clean shot couldn’t be put past Howard as he played solid through the remainder of the period to force a shootout.
Howard had a slip against Jonathan Towes who was first up as the Captain went high above the glove to give Chicago a 1-0 score. After stopping Datsyuk’s veteran expertise he feel at the hands of Nyquist and Tomas Tatar who both pulled off angled shots and made it a victory for the Red Wings, their first shootout win since Jan. 20 against Minnesota. “These games are great playing in this building and obviously getting two points for us it’s a big win,” said rookie Teemu Pulkkinen to NHL Tonight reporters. Its only the third win in a shootout after dropping seven straight.
With the huge win over Chicago, the Red Wings get ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning for second place and will go on into their westward trip meeting with the Dallas Stars on Saturday.