The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 on Monday night. Next up is the do or die Game 7 at the United Center on Wednesday evening.
The Blackhawks would come out on fire in the first period as they tried to score first. Their persistence would pay on a power play in the first few minutes. Nine seconds into the power play Jonathan Toews would drive to the net and after a mad scramble in front of the net, Marian Hossa poked the puck past Jimmy Howard at 3:53. The Blackhawks would have several more chances but could not stretch the lead out. The Red Wings would tie the game when Corey Crawford gave up a rebound after a Drew Miller shot. Patrick Eaves slipped the puck past Crawford at 18:51. The game would be tied at 1 after the first twenty minutes.
In the second period, the Red Wings would come out with a determination to bury the Blackhawks and end the series once and for all. They compiled an 18-10 edge in shots during the second period as their forecheck was brilliant and the Blackhawks could not get the puck out of their zone. Their effort was rewarded when Joakim Andersson scored when he fired a puck that was on edge from 50 feet out. It was a bad goal given up by Crawford at 10:11 as he grasped at air on a shot that he should have had. That would be all the scoring for the Red Wings though as they failed to extend the lead past one.
With their backs against the wall and down one with twenty minutes the Blackhawks responded in spectacular fashion. Niklas Hjalmarsson pinched in and kept the puck in the zone passing to the front of the net where Michal Handzus was all alone. He stickhandled and beat Jimmy Howard to the far post 51 seconds into the third period. In the third period, it was the Blackhawks aggressive forecheck that took over. Toews and Hossa tied up the puck in the corner and Toews emerged with it and threw it to the front of the net. Bryan Bickell was waiting and gobbled up the loose puck and poked it past Howard at 5:48 to give the Blackhawks the lead. With a one goal lead the Blackhawks would use defense to create offense. Michael Frolik blocked a shot and got off on a breakaway. Carlo Colaiacovo slashed Frolik on the breakaway as he failed to get the shot off. A penalty shot was awarded and Frolik went forehand to backhand and lifted the puck in the top right corner of the goal at 9:43. In the final ten minutes the Blackhawks attempted to clog the neutral zone. The Blackhawks took two bad penalties on the power play in the final minutes as both Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa took penalties. Hossa’s penalty was a killer as the Blackhawks had just been awarded a power play with 1:23 remaining. Detroit would take advantage of the 4 on 4 and pull Jimmy Howard. Pavel Datsyuk found Damien Brunner wide open and he blasted a shot past Crawford at 19:08. The Blackhawks would hold on with a couple of icings and key faceoff wins by Toews and company. The Red Wings outshot the Blackhawks 38-28 tonight.
What it means
The Blackhawks and Red Wings will now head to a winner take all Game 7 at the United Center on Wednesday night. This was the first game this series that was decided by one goal. Now the last four times the Red Wings have been up 3-2 the series has gone to a Game 7. The Blackhawks have never come back in franchise history to win a series in which they were down 3-1.
3 stars of the game
3. Niklas Hjalmarsson- Hjalmarsson had a great game overall as he assisted on the game tying goal with a great effort to come in low and pinch in. He had one assist and was a plus one. Hjalmarsson played 24:16 and had two huge blocked shots to help bail out Crawford and was credited with three hits.
2. Marian Hossa– Hossa had a huge game tonight after not scoring a goal since Game 1. Both goals have been on the power play. Hossa had one goal and one assist and was a plus two with three shots on goal.
1. Jonathan Toews- The captain has turned it around after struggling through the first four games of the series. Toews had two assists and was credited with three shots on goal. Toews was 12 for 24 in the faceoff circle but his hustle on a faceoff loss at the end of the third period to clear the puck out of the zone killed off 8 seconds and then he won the last faceoff of the game to allow the Hawks to clear the puck in the final seconds.