Patrick Sharp posted three points and Corey Crawford was strong once again as the Blackhawks took a 1-0 lead in their second round series against the Detroit Red Wings in Chicago on Wednesday night.
When the first period ended, the Blackhawks and Red Wings were tied 1-1 and Detroit had out-shot the Hawks 7-6. Marian Hossa scored a powerplay goal, but Damien Brunner brought the Wings back with a goal less than two minutes later.
The next 40 minutes of hockey were dominated by the Blackhawks.
Chicago allowed only 14 shots on net in the second and third periods, all of which were kept out of the net by Corey Crawford (and Brent Seabrook in one case). Crawford stopped 20 of 21 shots in the game and made a number of key saves while the skaters in front of him opened the game up.
In the final two periods, Chicago out-shot Detroit 36-14, but the Hawks didn’t begin to pull away until the middle of the final period.
It wasn’t until over eight minutes into the third period that the Hawks were able to break the tie. Johnny Oduya, who played a solid all-around game on Wednesday night, scored the eventual game-winner. Oduya finished the game plus-three, with the game-winning goal, one blocked shot and one takeaway.
Marcus Kruger scored Chicago’s third goal of the night a little more than three minutes after Oduya’s tally, and Sharp added his sixth goal of this postseason into an empty net with less than one minute remaining in regulation. Kruger played another good defensive game, leading the still-perfect Hawks penalty kill unit. However, he lost all 11 of his faceoffs in the game.
Bryan Bickell, skating on a new-look third line with Dave Bolland and Andrew Shaw, led the Hawks with five hits in the contest. Both Bolland and Michal Handzus won seven of 11 faceoffs, while both Bolland and Shaw served four penalty minutes.
Sharp led the team with seven shots on net, while Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were each credited with an assist in the game. Toews won 11 of 21 faceoffs as well.