It’s unfortunate that the Blackhawks only get two cracks at the Red Wings each year now, and it’s tough when both games come inside of a week. But this year’s Hawks took care of business twice to sweep the season against their rival from Detroit.
Patrick Kane picked up where the Hawks left off in Detroit, scoring only 21 seconds into the game. The goal, his career-high 38th of the season, also established a new career best of 89 points on the season – on March 6.
Things got chippy soon after the Kane goal. Tomas Jurco gave Duncan Keith a shove into the Hawks’ net and the two were assessed matching minor penalties at 2:26, and Brendan Smith went to the box only six seconds after that 4-on-4 ended after he tripped Jonathan Toews.
On the power play with Smith in the box, Keith unloaded from the point for his ninth of the season. The goal, which would hold up as the game-winner, came at 6:19 into the game and ended Petr Mrazek’s night.
Detroit’s starter faced only five shots on the night, but allowed all five goals on Wednesday night and the coaching staff made the change to Jimmy Howard.
The Red Wings got on the board a couple minutes after the change in net. It appeared they got away with a hold, and then Danny DeKeyser barely kept the puck in the zone before finding Gustav Nyquist. Nyquist put a nasty snipe past Corey Crawford for his 16th of the year.
In the second period, Detroit dominated the Blackhawks. Helped by two full Hawks penalties (a third was called on Toews inside the final second of the period), the Wings out-shot the Hawks 13-3 in the middle stanza. But Crawford was up to the task, stopping all 13 and keeping his team ahead by one goal heading to the third.
Chicago successfully killed the Toews penalty to open the third and the power play once again paid dividends. Mike Green went to the box for hooking Richard Panik and the Hawks scored 21 seconds later when Artem Anisimov redirected an Artemi Panarin shot past Howard for his 19th of the year.
Toews finished the scoring with his 24th of the year 68 seconds later to push the score to 4-1 in favor of the Hawks. The final 7:37 came and went without a penalty or goal scored, and the Hawks completed an Original Six season sweep.
Crawford made 33 saves and was named the number one star of the game.
Chicago’s special teams were strong the entire night. The Hawks killed all three Detroit advantages, and coach Joel Quenneville mixed his forwards up once again as a struggling unit tries to find a working combination. Four Chicago forwards skated more than two minutes while short-handed, and none of them were named Jonathan Toews.
Anisimov and Andrew Desjardins have seen time on penalty kill all year, but new additions Andrew Ladd (2:17) and Tomas Fleischmann (2:36) saw extensive action on Sunday afternoon as well. Toews skated only 42 seconds killing the two penalties during which he wasn’t in the box, and Teuvo Teravainen added 30 seconds of kill time as well.
Anisimov added an assist to his goal for a multi-point afternoon, while Panarin and Michal Rozsival were credited with two assists each in the victory. Keith led Chicago with five blocked shots and Trevor van Riemsdyk blocked four, and Ladd led the Hawks with three hits.
The Hawks fourth line, including newcomer Dale Weise, saw limited action. Weise skated only 7:43 while Fleischmann, acquired in the same deal from Montreal, skated 15:10 on Sunday.
Chicago hopes to have Marian Hossa back in the lineup soon, perhaps as early as Wednesday when they visit St. Louis in a huge Central Division showdown.