With their backs against the wall at home, the Blackhawks put together a complete, 60-minute game and stayed alive with a dominant 4-1 victory on Saturday night.
If it’s possible to feel like one game could solve all of a team’s problems, this was that game.
- The Hawks scored early on Jimmy Howard.
- The Hawks scored two powerplay goals.
- Joel Quenneville’s line changes worked.
- Brent Seabrook played more than 13 minutes… and played well.
- And Jonathan Toews scored a goal.
Chicago outshot Detroit 45-26 in the game, and dominated the second half of the contest. The Red Wings were only credited with four shots on net in the third period, while the Blackhawks were credited with 17.
Quenneville mixed up his lineup again, and took advantage of having the final change on home ice.
The line of Patrick Kane, Toews and Patrick Sharp was put back together and generated a lot of action throughout the game. Kane put seven shots on net, and had the secondary assist on Bryan Bickell’s goal. Meanwhile, Sharp was credited with four shots and Toews was credited with two.
Kane’s seven shots led the team, but he wasn’t alone with that total. Seabrook also put seven shots on net in the game, and looked like a completely different player than he had in the previous three (52?) games. After seeing the lowest amount of ice time in his playoff career, Seabrook was back with Duncan Keith, skating 23:30 and contributing to the offense.
Michal Handzus, whose active status had been questioned by many (including this site), played a fantastic game. He won eight of 12 faceoffs, blocked two shots (including one big block while killing a penalty) and he led the Hawks with four hits. Handzus spent much of the game on a new-look line with Bickell and Marian Hossa. That line gave Detroit problems throughout the night.
And, once again, Bickell played a strong, physical game.
Bickell skated only 10:56 but was credited with three big hits and the game’s first goal. Late in the third period, Bickell hammered Niklas Kronwall in the corner. Kronwall attempted two more shifts, but did not return to the ice in the game’s final five minutes.
The Hawks killed all four of the Wings’ powerplays in the game; the number of short-handed situations needs to be less moving forward, though. Dave Bolland was guilty of two stupid penalties in the second period, but neither cost the Hawks. It appeared “the old Bolland” was back, as he skated well and annoyed the Wings’ captain all night.
Andrew Shaw told Pierre McGuire after the game that the Hawks made sure Bolland was shifting against Henrik Zetterberg throughout the game, and Bolland did a good job of neutralizing a superstar.
Shaw was talking to Pierre because he was the game’s Number One star. He was dynamite once again, scoring two goals with three hits. He also won five of eight faceoffs in the game on a third line with Viktor Stalberg and Brandon Saad.
Corey Crawford played another strong game between the pipes for the Hawks, allowing only one goal against 26 shots. In the conference semifinals, Crawford has now allowed 10 goals in five games and has a .925 save percentage. Crawford’s postseason save percentage is now .938, which is second in the NHL behind only Jonathan Quick of the Kings (.948).
While the win on Saturday night was as dominant as the Game One victory, the Hawks still trail in the series. Game Six moves back to Detroit, where Mike Babcock will have the advantage of the final change. How the Hawks carry the intensity over from this win will determine whether or not there is a Game Seven in Chicago.
Game Six starts at 7 pm CT on Monday night.