In their first trip to Detroit for the 2009-10 season, the new Blackhawks got the same result.
Chicago was the better team on the ice on many occasions on Thursday night. The Hawks had fewer giveaways, more shots on goal, and the hits and takeaways were equal. For much of the game, the Blackhawks controlled the flow as well.
But the veteran Red Wings were, again, the more accomplished big brother.
The Blackhawks penalty kill unit was perfect in their first two games, but allowed two goals to Detroit. There was also a crucial two-man advantage that the Blackhawks were unable to take advantage of early in the second period that proved costly.
The young Blackhawks showed a lot of effort and hustle, they fought for pucks and blocked shots like this was another game in last spring’s Western Conference Finals. After two periods, the Blackhawks had won less than a third of the faceoffs, but cut the deficit from double digits to only four by the end of the third period.
It wasn’t enough, though.
There was an unfortunately familiar issue for the Blackhawks in only their third game. Cristobal Huet allowed three of 23 shots to get behind him, two of which were far from exceptional shots. His top shelf was again vulnerable, and he gave up the Hawks only lead of the game on a shot that trickled off a skate from about 12 feet out through his five hole.
Huet was not good enough on Thursday night.
Most nights, when the Hawks have a full compliment of offensive players available, they’ll be able to score three or four goals. But there are going to be nights when championship-caliber goalies like Chris Osgood hold the talented Hawks to one or two goals.
On those nights, it will be up to Huet, or whomever is playing goalie for the Hawks, to match the effort coming from his opponent. If Huet cannot do this, the Hawks are going to have a problem not only in October, but in June when they’re watching someone else play for the Stanley Cup.
Kris Versteeg and Patrick Sharp each scored, and assisted on the other’s goal, and Brent Seabrook added his fourth assist in three games in the losing effort for the Hawks.