Blackhawks Top Red Wings in OT, Remain Undefeated

In the second half of a back-to-back that included travel from Columbus to Chicago on Saturday night, the Blackhawks emerged victorious for a team-record sixth straight game to begin the season. This time, the hated Detroit Red Wings were the victim.

Corey Crawford continued his stellar play, stopping 29 of 30 shots to earn the game’s number one star honor. A second period that saw the Blackhawks short-handed four times – including a 5-on-3 – came up with the Red Wings still showing a doughnut on the scoreboard, a huge credit to Crawford and the penalty killers in front of him.

Marcus Kruger was the game’s third star after a stellar defensive performance. He won eight of 14 faceoffs and skated 5:30 short-handed on Sunday evening.

Duncan Keith opened the scoring for the Blackhawks with a powerplay goal in the first period. Chicago dominated the first period; there were conversations in the 300 level at the United Center about how this Blackhawks-Red Wings game looked like a match-up of the two teams from 10 years ago, but with the dominant team wearing the opposite sweater.

The second and third periods, though, saw the Hawks looking like a team playing skating on a second consecutive night. Detroit started to control the puck, and the momentum, but couldn’t break through on the scoreboard. It wasn’t until the third period, when Johan Franzen found the back of the net, that the Red Wings got on the board.

Nick Leddy, who had a personal four-game point streak snapped in Columbus, got back on the board with a game-winning blast in overtime.

The Hawks combined to block 20 shots on Sunday night, including four each from Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya. Hjalmarsson was credited with three takeaways as well.

Jonathan Toews led the Hawks with four takeaways while winning 10 of 21 faceoffs in the game. He was credited with an assist on Leddy’s game-winner. Viktor Stalberg, Brent Seabrook and Marian Hossa were also credited with assists in the game.

On special teams, the Blackhawks killed all six of the Red Wings power plays and scored once in three advantages of their own. Continued strong play from the Hawks’ special teams has been a leading factor in the team’s hot start, especially the exceptional penalty kill unit.

The Blackhawks play at the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night.

13 thoughts on “Blackhawks Top Red Wings in OT, Remain Undefeated

  1. Good game…the Hawks looked tired down the stretch, but killing all those penalties will do that to you, especially playing for the 2nd night in a row…plus, those penalties interrupted their 4 line flow!

    Great play by Leddy on the winning goal to jump up into the play…I love having him mature on the 3rd line pairing, plus he is still contributing to the PP…

    One change I think needs to be made is moving Brandon Saad off the 1st line…since he inherited that spot, the first line has stopped producing at even strength…I think its time for Stahlberg to be given a chance there, and let Saad find his game either on the 3rd line, or back in Rockford…to that end, I would rather have Saad build confidence in Rockford and have Jimmy Hayes back in the show…he is on fire in Rockford, and his big body will help!

  2. Tab is there any truth to rumor that Rozy might be dinged? Watching the broadcast tonight and I think it was Pat that slipped it in there early on. I know some suggested he didn’t play against CBJ because of the doghouse, but an injury would be different.

    I thought Brookbank played much better tonight than he did against Blue Jackets.

    Back checking was good, Penalty Kill was great, but it looked like the guys were just mentally not into the game after the 1-0 lead. 6 games in 9 nights can do that. They did turn up the pressure and tempo once Det tied it.

    They have a few days off here and can rest their bodies and their minds and I think that will do them good.

    Great start to the season, move over Hull and Mikita these 2013 Blackhawks have the best start in Franchise History.

  3. Agree Brad on 1st line. I’d like to see Stalberg given a shot. I think a simple switch of Stalberg to the top line and Saad to the 3rd would be fine.

  4. You’re right about Saad but I’d like to see a few more games of him on the 1st line. In 2 of his 5 gms, he’s had many chances. It’s like he’s ready to break out but hasn’t yet. After a few more, just send him down. We need him getting more minutes in the minors instead of our 3rd/4th line.

  5. A couple of things come to mind with the fast start:
    1) Interesting how you don’t hear anything ab out Kompton (sp) since the PP is off to a tremendous start.
    2) I wonder whose idea it was to put Kruger and, in particluar, Frolik on the PK. Both were on the roster last year and I don’t remember either getting any PK time.

    Enjioying the season, hopefully they can keep it rolling.

  6. NJ Dave- both Kruger and Frolik have played on PK in past… (I don’t know if they were together)… They have been GREAT!!! The other thing I have noticed ( please back me up if anyone else has noticed) — is the 16-67 combo seems to be hyper aggressive in attacking the points on the PK- where as 19-81 and 36-10 have been less aggressive , more stay at home- I wonder if this is by design or random??? IS It a scheme to keep PP off balance???

    Yes, Saad looks out of sync (w/ passing, timing on 1st line), and not a lot of practice time is scheduled due to all the games-
    Hawks should try to limit Stals points so he is affordable… wouldn’t mind seeing Hayes if C-bomb doesn’t recover or Smith/Pirri.

    Stals and Saad should/will be on PK someday ( maybe not this year) both have incredible acceleration to get to the loose puck- have to learn the “when” part!

  7. Good “statement game” last night. The Hawks were clearly dragging in this game, yet the persevered and were able to win. Crawford was solid once again. Which is highly encouraging. That said, I maintain concern for our goaltending. Lets see if Crawford can build on his early season success and get into a pattern of consistency.

    Detroit? Their great 15 year run of sustained success in the Western Conference is about over. They are in a rebuilding mode, and I think they know it. Their defensive pairings are a joke at this point. Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Fransen remain exceptional players. But there is no longer enough surrounding them. Still a dangerous team, but a team that by next season will be in full scale rebuilding mode I suspect.

    Other thoughts? I like Shaw a great deal. But it’s time for Quenneville and staff to demote him to wing on the 4th line and insert Kruger as the 3rd line center. Kruger is solid defensively and has been somewhat impressive thru 6 games. Mayers? He’s virtually useless at this point. Time to play Bollig 3 out of 4 nights if it is up to me. Bollig is better than his critics care to admit. Certainly decidedely better than Mayers at this point. Saad? Impressed so far. This kid gets it. Definitely a major work in progress, but you can see the inherent skill and hockey IQ. I’ve also been impressed with the Oduya – Hjalmarsson combo…definitely a chemistry there. Also have to like what Frolik is doing. Frolik and Kruger had the best energy on the ice last night. Brookbank? Yeesh. He can’t clear the puck and is a turnover machine. Not great for Leddy to play with either Brookbank or Rostilav, but what are you going to do? Dylan Olsen should be working his ass off in Rockford because there is DEFINITELY a job opening for 6th defenseman on this club right now.

  8. Hayes cannot skate well enough or play in his own zone. Right now with the hard forecheck the Hawks are employing and their average faceoff percentage bringing the big guy up is not a great option.

  9. In my opinion, patience with Saad – he’s not hurting the team / Toews & Hossa, and first line experience is good for his development. (The proposed line shuffling – it’s difficult to change things when the team is rolling undefeated. Fatigue is a factor all teams will have to deal with.)

    Brookbank – not good. How did he play 80 games for the Ducks last season – were they that thin or is he any good if he plays every game? Rozsival, so far, at least looks like an adequate 6th d-man.

    Mayers – not good. Someone suggested that his value is veteran leadership (locker room) – there may be something to that? I think on-ice Bollig contributes more.

    Wall – agree / gotta like the PK aggressiveness of Frolik and Kruger.

    Starting 6-0 it’s difficult to complain. GO HAWKS!!

  10. Just throwing this out there…

    Niemi’s career save pct is .915
    Crawford’s career save pct is .911

    Since 2010, Niemi’s postseason record is 9-13
    Crawford’s career postseason record is 5-8

    I think we all can agree that the 2009-10 Blackhawks team was lightning in a bottle, and Niemi benefited from playing behind one of the better defensive teams of the last decade; certainly the roles (and contracts) given to players that left that team indicates that the 2010 Blackhawks were overloaded with studs. But if we take a step back and address Niemi as a goaltender since, the facts show that there isn’t an enormous difference (in the numbers) between Crawford and Niemi. I understand that there are people who will never accept Crawford as the team’s #1 because they believe he isn’t mentally tough enough to be a championship-caliber netminder… and, based on last year’s performance, those sentiments have merit. But the overwhelming improvement in the Hawks’ special teams this year gives me some pause when writing Crawford off; if he gets the kind of help from the skaters in front of him that Niemi did in 2009-10, he’ll do OK.

    For now, I’m not going to throw Crawford under the bus. He’s been really good against some of the tougher teams in the league so far.

  11. Tab I understand your point regarding comparing statistics between Niemi and Crawford but I would like to add that the difference between Niemi and Crawford is not “how” but “when”. In the 2010 playoffs when the defense and the rest of the team broke down Niemi made some saves that were out of this world while last year Crawford lost at least two overtime games with Phoenix especially the one where the puck just trickles in between his pads and he was petrified. Im not saying everything was his fault but that if any team wants to reach the promised land the goalie has to be more than OK. I do hope that Crawford continues as he is doing and I do like him. But not to be compared with 2010 Niemi who pulled the rabbit out of the hat. Remember the 2010 crucial playoff game with Nashville where we were losing with a minute left and then Hossa gets a major? Nashville is on the power play and Niemi makes two saves that were above stellar. With a few seconds left Kane scores shorthanded and we bring it into overtime. At the start of overtime, still shorthanded, Niemi makes another two fantastic stops and when Hossa re-enters the ice he scores the winner! Barry Trotz looked up toward the sky and raised his hands. I wont’ go on with the 4-0 sweep of the President Trophy winning Sharks etc. I just mean to say that taking from Crawford nothing away from what he has done so far when the pressure really comes on that he wont’ be petrified playoff time.

  12. I’ll see your crappy 2012 playoffs and raise you the 2011 series against Vancouver, Steve. How quickly do we forget that Crawford personally won a couple of those games for the Hawks…

    My point with the comparison to Niemi was two fold. First, if we remove 2010 from the equation, they’ve been similar goaltenders on paper (emphasis: on paper). Secondly, my hope was to serve a reminder that we’ve seen a good Crawford and a bad Crawford. Right now, the overwhelming majority of fans assume there’s only the bad Crawford in existence, even in spite of his five starts to date. On Facebook, someone said “Lots of 5-hole goals” about Crawford this year… my response: “He’s allowed 9 goals in 5 games.”

    We have 2 postseasons of Crawford to compare, something we never got a chance to experience/talk about/grade w/ Niemi in Chicago. And the sample size to start this year is not enormous. But I’d like to see him get some credit where it’s due.

  13. Crow is ok…

    His weakness seems to be the Change-up in the 5-hole.

    Bigger problems will be unveiled (Physicality on boards and entering zones, and In front of other team’s net on PP) as the season goes… Our Team speed will overcome most Teams… but if teams start to employ the Jackets 4 man Blue line approach- it will be some ugly Hockey!

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