Round Two: Blackhawks vs. Red Wings

 Hawks Wings

With their 3-2 win in Sunday night’s Game Seven in Anaheim, the Detroit Red Wings will advance to meet the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round of the playoffs.

With Detroit moving to the Eastern Conference next season, this battle between two Original Six rivals will be emotional for fans. But what will the series look like on the ice?

During the regular season, Chicago swept Detroit behind stellar goaltending from Corey Crawford. Three of the four games between these two rivals required extra hockey, with the fourth game a Chicago blowout. Crawford allowed only five goals in the four games against the Red Wings, posting a .960 save percentage.

Those five goals were scored by only three Red Wings: Johan Franzen (two), Cory Emmerton (two) and Tomas Tatar (one). Tatar hasn’t skated for Detroit in the postseason, and Emmerton was scratched for Game Seven after registering a minus-four rating with zero points in the first six games of the series.

Offensively, four different Blackhawks had two goals against Detroit during the regular season. Jonathan Toews, Dave Bolland, Brandon Saad and Nick Leddy each found the back of the net twice in the four games, while Viktor Stalberg, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Jeremy Morin each scored once.

Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp both missed a game against the Red Wings during the regular season, and each recorded only one assist in the three games they played against Detroit. Patrick Kane was also limited to one point against the Wings during the regular season.

But the regular season is over. And the Hawks and Wings haven’t played in over a month (April 12 was their last game, a shootout victory for the Hawks).

So who’s hot in the postseason?

For Detroit, it’s the usual suspects; Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg have been dominant. Zetterberg led Detroit with eight points in the seven games, while Datsyuk had seven.

The Red Wings owned Anaheim at the dot in their first round series as well. Datsyuk (55.8%), Valteri Filppula (55.8%) and Joakim Andersson (53.5%) were strong, while Zetterberg was used primarily as a wing until the final game of the series; Detroit’s captain took only nine faceoffs in the first six games, but was involved in 21 in the finale.

What ultimately led to the Red Wings winning the final two games of their series against the Ducks was how, and where, their stars made an impact. Mike Babcock out-coached Bruce Boudreau throughout the series, but was most impressive in Games Six and Seven.

Interestingly, Franzen tied for the team lead with three goals against Anaheim, but finished with a minus-five rating in the series.

For the Hawks, four players were point-per-game producers in the first round and three of them – Hossa, Sharp and Kane – were noticeably absent from the top of the regular season stats against the Red Wings. Now healthy, Sharp lit up the Wild for five goals in five games and Hossa had three goals and three assists.

The difference in the series may ultimately be how the speed in the Hawks’ bottom-six forwards matches up with the depth of the Red Wings.

Detroit will bring out a few youngsters of their own, including Emmerton, Damien Brunner and Gustav Nyquist. But they have relied on veterans like Todd Bertuzzi, Dan Cleary, Mikael Samuelsson and Patrick Eaves throughout the playoffs.

As Bolland returns to the Hawks’ lineup, Chicago will have options with their forward depth. If Bolland returns to the third line, one of Stalberg, Andrew Shaw and/or Bryan Bickell will shift to another line, creating match-up headaches for Babcock. The opportunity to give top-line ice time to a veteran if Saad struggles also presents some intrigue for two coaches that play match-ups as well as anyone in the NHL.

Special teams will also play a significant role, and could favor the Blackhawks.

Chicago didn’t allow a powerplay goal against Minnesota, killing all 17 of the Wild’s opportunities with an advantage. Detroit’s powerplay scored six times in 25 opportunities (24.0%) in the first round, but also allowed one short-handed goal to the Ducks.

Of course, the Blackhawks’ powerplay was the same disaster in the first round as it was during the regular season. The Hawks scored only two powerplay goals in 13 opportunities against the Wild. However, Detroit’s penalty kill struggled against Anaheim, allowing seven powerplay goals in 25 short-handed opportunities (72.0%) over seven games.

Between the pipes, the more impressive resume through the first round belongs to Crawford. Jimmy Howard allowed 20 goals in seven games against Anaheim, posting a .911 save percentage. Howard was tested by the Blackhawks during the regular season and will face a Hawks team that rolled four lines (well, at least 11 forwards) for much of their first round series against Minnesota.

With Detroit winning on Sunday night, the San Jose Sharks will face the Los Angeles Kings in the other Western Conference match-up. The Eastern Conference will have two Game Sevens on Monday night.

Prediction: Blackhawks in 5

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44 Responses to Round Two: Blackhawks vs. Red Wings

  1. McKay says:

    Scrap all the regular season records for this one. Detroit looked very good in game 7 against Anaheim. This is a skill v. skill match up which should favor the Hawks. I like our D matching up against their forwards. But Franzen, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Cleary make me nervous in tight games with big implications.

    Very happy to see St.L and ANA out after the first round.

    Bring it Detroit.

  2. Peter says:

    Just a question for general debate to the board if that is okay Tab: What about Bruce Boudreau’s style does not translate to the playoffs? Does he just not make adjustments? He can have some high flying teams and I will give him some credit since he has had a couple of good regular seasons with 2 different franchises. I am surprised he hasn’t got past at least the conference semis (twice with the Caps). Kind of reminds of Q when he was with the Blues, but I think Q had one or two Conference Finals throughout his time there.

  3. Mike says:

    I love this match up. It is great for even casual hockey fans. I think Toews will have extra motivation vs. the Wings. The Hawks did not have to play Detroit in 2010, the Wings move east next year and all eyes will be on Datsyuk and Zetterburg.

    Bolland coming back could be huge for the Hawks. As Tab expressed Q can keep Babcock guessing a bit and make him adjust. I just hope if Bolland is back that he is 100%. Less than 100% won’t work.

    I said before the playoffs started and it is still my opinion the the Wings could be the Hawks toughest matchup. Yes, the Hawks swept and had a blowout to boot. But the Wings have a veteran, disciplined and well coached team. There is also a mental and emotional aspect to this series. The Hawks must disrupt the Wings game plan.

    Hawks in 6

  4. JS says:

    Amazing that Detroit’s stars were able to put goals on the board. I guess they must not have been singled out defensively.

    Franzen’s 3 goals came on the PP which is the reason for the big minus. He played a pretty good series, but it’s pretty easy to get him off of his game if you are physical with him.

    You saw it in the regular season and it will continue to happen in the post season. The Wings defenseman are too slow to keep the faster Hawks in front of them. Speeed to the outside is going to kill Detroit this series. Anaheim, while a good team, did not match up very well against Detroit. Slow-overrated defensemen that continuously got torched.

    My guess would be the Hawks in 5. PP should actually show up and contribute. Hopefully Crawford can be the star of the series again.

  5. EbonyRaptor says:

    Detroit is a better team now than they were in the regular season, for a couple reasons. First of which is that the veterans, especially their star players raise their game when it matters most as evidenced in the first round. Secondly, they have solidified their 3rd line with the elevated play of Nyquist and to a lesser extent Andersson.

    Where the Hawks have the edge is in their defensive corps. The Hawks have speed on all three pairings and Detroit does not.

    I think it’s going to take at least 6 games for one of these teams to win. I like the Hawks chances but I learned a long time ago to never count out the stinkin Wings.

    Go Hawks ! ! ! !

  6. Negzz says:

    The playoffs are about matchups and this is/was the best-case scenario I could envision when evaluating how the Western conf seeding could shake out prior to the playoffs. Beautiful! 1st Minny and now Det in rnd-2 is great news for Hawks fans. The fact that these are original-6 teams that play fast, skilled games should be great for the NHL too. Will be fun to watch, lots of transition action, clean-ish, tough hockey without much goonery/thuggery will play to Hawks advantage. Not having to travel to Calif will be much better logistically for players, and cental/eastern based Hawks fans will not be forced to watch Calif away games until late-late… Wings are dangerous and are peaking at the right time so this will be no easy ride, but is definitely the best development we could hope for while SJ and LA continue to beat each other up for finals. Let’s get it on!

  7. Negzz says:

    @ER: “I like the Hawks chances but I learned a long time ago to never count out the stinkin Wings.”

    Great point and spot on..

  8. Tab Bamford says:

    re: throwing out the regular season performances – why? Yes, both teams had players missing from a number of the regular season games, most notably Hossa & Sharp, but the fact that three of the four games went to extra hockey points to how close these teams are to each other. Both teams are playing well right now, but before we write the Hawks into the Conference Finals in sharpie, let’s remember how close 3 of the 4 regular season games were.

    With that being said, I’ve got Hawks in 5.

  9. Tim G says:

    I’m thinking Hawks in 5 here. Much like we did in the Regular season, i would imagine we will frustrate the DET defense with our speed. 7 of the 10 penalties that DET committed vs the Hawks were by defenders. If we get 3-4 goals on the PP in 5 games… we should take the series hands down.

    The schedule could help DET a little with a nice gap between G7 and G1 (sunday to wednesday), then G1 to G2 (not until Saturday, due to potential game 6 for the Bulls on Friday). That rest should help the Wing keep their veterans (Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Franzen) at the top of their game… But that should also help us get Bolly back by no later than G2. So there is some give and take there… Let’s Get ‘Em! GO HAWKS!

    To Peter- Boudreau, to me, kinda dug his own grave. He gets cute at the wrong times. He was messing with Perry/Getzlaf there in G7… they need to play 20-25 minutes each on the same line… PERIOD. But he chose to get cute and juggle lines. I never really followed him in Washington, other than knowing he had like 3 or 4 G7’s. If he managed those matchup like the one last night, then its clear that he out thinks himself. Nothing more.

  10. wall says:

    Ebony- agreed- The Wings look a lot better/faster than they did when they played Hawks… Now perhaps it is because Hawks made them “look” slow- or perhaps it was for the reasons you mentioned. Time will tell!

    Regardless- Three out of 4 of games took OT- I expect it to be a very close series…
    if Hawks can neutralize Datsyuk- and if Hawks can minimize Wings PP success – Hawks should win easily! If they can’t do those 2 things… Wings have a chance.

  11. Dave says:

    I’m saying a 6 game series.

  12. Tom Jaremka says:

    This is one of those match ups that looks to good on paper. If you go by the last two seasons, the Hawks should win in 4-5 games. But in reality, this match up scares the hell out of me. Detroit has speed and skill up front and Jimmy Howard is alot like Jonathan Quick in L.A. He covers everything low, moves side to side smoothly, has a great glove and last but not least, he competes. Defensively, we may have the edge, but it’s not a huge edge. They have four solid “D” and we have “6”. Late in games, we may have an edge and be fresher out there.

    How can you argue with Q behind the bench, but Babcock has been around and done alot. This will be a “wash”. The players will decide this series.

    To me, just seeing a Pavel Datsuk and a Patrick Kane on the same ice in a 7 game series is going to be alot of fun. We’ll see more “shake and bake” in this series than we have all season. This is going to be fun!!

    I don’t anticipate alot of “cheap shots” and after whistle crap. I’m thinking that these two teams will allow their speed and skill to dictate the game, not alot of after the whistle crap unless we get to games 5,6 and 7.

    Let’s strap it down and hit it HARD!!

  13. Sr. Brad says:

    You throw the regular season games out the window, because they don’t exist in the now…on that basis the Hawks still hold a massive advantage. They dispatched a team in Minny that would have given the Wings fits in 5 games, without coming near their peak intensity…DET has already been there with their 7 game series versus ANA. The Hawks need to face DET’s best in that first game, weather the storm, match their intensity and then takeover the game and series. I could see this done in 4 straight, especially with Q’s intensity over the past couple of days…

    Here are some thoughts I had about this…

    Nice to see Q has put his game face on for the 2nd round…the Hawks needed this…he told the press after the Wild series that the Hawk’s intensity wasn’t good enough and that the other teams advancing were playing at a higher level. Now he has benched Saad and Stahlberg in favour of Bolly and Ben Smith.

    Now I love both Saad and Stahlberg, but their play, especially the rookie’s, has been substandard and Q isn’t tolerating it…and by doing so he put EVERYONE on notice.

    Sharp came out couple of days ago and told the press that he doesn’t care who wins versus DET/ANA, he HATES BOTH TEAMS EQUALLY! It is this kind of ruthlessness, intensity and emotion that wins championships…I like to see Q setting the tone, as Toews hasn’t…Tazer has been actually very forgiving of his team mates for a while. and I think Q would have preferred the captain to set the tone, but since he hasn’t, Q did what he felt he needed to…so did Patrick Sharp. Great to see.

    Also, wonderful to see Bickell on top of his game…at 6’4? 220, banging bodies left and right, and scoring goals, Bickell becomes one of the best hockey players remaining in the playoffs. With Bolly back in the lineup, it gives Q a 5th face-off man, giving him tons of in game options in key situations.

  14. Tab Bamford says:

    Note: At Monday’s practice, Saad was on the top line w/ Hossa & Toews. Bolland was between Kane & Sharp. Smith took Stalberg’s spot w/ Shaw & Bickell, and the fourth line was the usual Kruger-Frolik-guy who’s gonna skate 8 minutes. After practice, Quenneville indicated Handzus was taking a maintenance day; Saad has NOT been benched. Q’s response to the status of both Handzus & Stalberg was “we’ll see.”

  15. JS says:

    No way Stalberg doesn’t dress when it’s the speed of the Hawks that will absolutely kill the Detroit defense.

    Probably sending a major message for him to pull his head out of his butt because if he makes any more stupid turnovers, they are likely to result in goals against better competition.

  16. Windy City ZMan says:

    If Q wants to send Viktor a message he should play him on the 4th line with Kruger & Frolik!

    Playing Bollig or Carcillo instead of Stalberg is crazy! This is the playoffs! He will gets the message just by losing playing time on 4th vs 3rd.

    If Stalberg doesn’t play, and the Hawks lose game 1, then the loss falls directly on Q. You put the best team out there. end of story.

    Not to mention, if Stalberg sits out, then we can forget about him returning next year. That’s the kind of slight that players NEVER forget.

    As much as I trust the Coach, I really hope Q doesn’t do this… Go Blackhawks!

  17. Peter says:

    While I do not think any debate can be made between who is the better player in Stalberg vs. Bolcillo, part of me wonders if this is the Hawks keeping Stalberg’s price down for his upcoming free agency. I don’t think Stalberg had the series in the first round he or the Hawks wanted. This is a public way for the Hawks to show their frustration which also might let other teams think maybe he isn’t a 2 million a year player. I don’t know if this will be well received by 25 or his teammates, especially if he doesn’t play.

  18. Mike says:

    Q is going to be extremely intense in this series. He has a personal goal to achieve. As a coach he has played the Wings in 5 post season series (once with the Hawks, 2009 conf. finals, Hossa was on that Wings team) and lost all 5. BUT Q is a pro and will not let this affect his judgement at game time. I am sure the players understand his motivation for this series. Yes Toews is captain and Q wants him to step up but Q knows he is ultimately responsible for getting his team emotionally ready.

    Go Hawks

  19. Stinky says:

    Detroit is the exact same team that took 2/3 from the Ducks in the regular season and got swept by the Hawks.

    On paper the Hawks should smoke them — In real life, as long as they contain Zberg it should be intense and emotionally charged but not too difficult of a series for the Hawks.

    Detroit has a substandard defensive corps and only one scoring line. Really not a significant threat unless major injuries / egg laying occurs.

    Q is juggling the lines because that is what he does and this year he has the depth to do it. Could be posturing, could be in case someone gets injured, probably want the guy whose next in line to get a few looks with the first team while the opportunity is there.

  20. wall says:

    JS- completely agree… Speed will make a difference in this series- so 25 will have to quit handing puck over (Shaw too) at our Blue line… or Hawks will pay!

    Also, 36 will/should play on 2nd line- he is quicker than Zus… will be important.

    Put Zus on 4th in this series… or if 25 plays like crap- on the 3rd – but if you sit 25 — he might just walk next year… then again… we don’t know if 25/and agent plan on coming back next year any way (behind doors – maybe Hawks know this???)

  21. Sr. Brad says:

    Tab, the benched comment refers to practise…I don’t see Q sitting either player for an actual game…both have been huge parts of this team’s success, and he knows it…just think of what Saad did while Sharp and Hossa were out…that buys loyalty…the 3rd line carried the Hawks for awhile, and Stahlberg was the best Hawk player many nights during the season…Q is posturing to wake certain players up…and this is what I am talking about…winning in the playoffs means pulling out all the stops…that’s what he is doing…

  22. SouthSideHawksMan says:

    Kudos to the Piven commerical, “Let’s hug it out, you little bitches” Thats a way back commerical wow! Anyways I like this matchup better then the Sharks. Detroit is well coached vet team and they are going to be a tough out however when you break it down I give the Hawks a slight edge in all aspects except coaching(Nothing against Q but Babcock is a gamer). The Detroit top 6 is good but the Hawks is better. Howard played good but Crow played better. The Wings have good depth but the Hawks is better. The defense will be the biggest difference hands down the Hawks ice a stronger 6 man d then the Wings. Detroit SUcks! Hawks in 6 ( I was thinking 5 but Babcock is worth 1 extra win).

  23. NJ Dave says:

    I hope Tab is right, but I just don’t see it. Hawks in 7, but it will be a battle.

  24. Mike says:

    I am F’ing tired of hearing how the Red Wings “young” players are doing so well. Nyquist is the youngest Wing at 23. Abdelkader is 26 and Brunner is 27. Let’s see….Saad 20 (and will still be 20 at the start of next season!), Shaw 21, Leddy 22, Kruger 23, Kane 24, Toews, Frolik and Hammer 25. Now those are young players who are bringing it.

  25. wall says:

    One thing I don’t like/understand… is 3 days off between a couple of games in Series- gives a chance for the Over 30 “core” of Wings to rest and catch their breath…

    that is a BIG advantage to the Older Wings…

  26. Mike says:

    Wall…… According to Tab’s schedule (did not confirm, but sure it’s right) there is a 2 day break between games 1 & 2 and between 3 & 4. All other games have a 1 day break. However, you make a good point as there are NO back to back games like both game 7s last night. Back to Back has favored the Hawks the past few years in part because of their youth.

    Go Hawks….can not wait til tomorrow.

  27. Tails says:

    They have to schedule the games as if the Bulls will go to 7 games with the Heat. The Bulls would play game 6 at the United Center on Friday. So rather than scheduling back to back games, the NHL scheduled two days off in a row (Thursday and Friday).

  28. JS says:

    If Q actually starts Carcillo over Stalberg (or even the corpse of Handzus) I might never forgive him. WHY IS HE SCARING ME LIKE THIS!?

  29. Tim G says:

    I remain confident that Q wont do anything that is down right stupid. He might be making a point and thats fine… whatever… take a few minutes from Saad/Stalberg, and it. But roll the lines as they have been all year. We can beat Det without “getting cute”.

    Kane can and will probably double shift for the extra minutes. With G2 not until saturday, he will have time to recharge, and we know how much Q likes double shifting 88.

  30. Tab Bamford says:

    fwiw, Ben Smith was at 2C between 88 & 10 on Tuesday morning. Handzus was still out.

  31. wall says:

    Tab-where did 36 and 25 skate??

  32. Tab Bamford says:

    Top 4 lines from Tuesday’s practice:

    Saad-Toews-Hossa
    Sharp-Smith-Kane
    Bickell-Bolland-Shaw
    Carcillo-Kruger-Frolik

  33. wall says:

    25???

    I am wondering if talks between Viktor’s agent and Bowman are so far apart – that the Hawks are sticking it to him…

    25 made some careless TO’s and Penalties… but to sit behind C-Bomb????

    Any body with other ideas? besides this is just a TACTIC to get 25 to play a little smarter!

  34. BigsmokeJ says:

    Tab – Is Zues hurt? I know Stalberg didn’t have the greatest series, but if Q plays Carcillo over him that is crazy.

  35. ratboy36 says:

    Still have no 2nd line pivot.May not be a.factor this round,but the fact theyre juggling that position bothers me for the last 2.I beleive 4 diffrent names have handled that duty this year.Stalberg is GONE.There are too many names on the free agent list this summer.Leddy Krueger Bickell etc.And I’m 100% positive he asking a fortune when im not sure he deserves it.

  36. Tom Jaremka says:

    Boys, Q isn’t just trying to motivate Stahlberg. He’s trying to motivate the entire team by using the old “us against them” tactic. It’s a brilliant coaching tactic that Scotty Bowman used all the time. My guess is that Scotty is behind this motivational ploy.

    You never use a top line player. You use a middle of the road guy who is liked by his teammates and can take some abuse without breaking his spirit. What he’s hoping for is that the team rallys around Stahlberg, Viktor pushes himself to prove that Q is wrong and at the same time the entire team beats up Detroit.

    I can’t even imagine that Carcillo is going to start in place of Stahlberg unless Q and the staff are smoking some good bowl!!

    The name of this series is “skill and speed” vs. “speed and skill”. The last time I looked Viktor Stahlberg is faster than everyone on the Hawks and the Red Wings.

  37. EbonyRaptor says:

    Something that I know that at times I’m pretty good at ignoring is that NHL coaches know more than I do about what it takes to ice a lineup capable of winning in the NHL. Saying it’s what they know may be too simplistic because it’s more than that – it’s also how they look at and evaluate players and how those player play within the system. adding to my disadvantage is that my eyes are essentially the TV camera lens. Even with replays I don’t get to see everything the coaches see in evaluating the players.

    To my untrained eye, it looked like Stalberg had a pretty good season and his play in the 1st round didn’t seem all that different than the regular season. I saw the offensive zone penalty in Game#3 and the turnover inside the blue line in Game#5, but other than those two bad plays, I thought Stalberg played pretty well. But it would appear the coaching staff saw things differently and are dissatisfied with Victor’s play, and I have to trust their judgement.

    Or maybe Q knows Stalberg isn’t going to resign with the Hawks and decided he has noting to lose by making an example of him to raise the intensity of the team to where he knows they need to be to beat Detroit.

    Interesting.

  38. Tim G says:

    I’m going to just keep telling myself the following all day…

    This HAS to be a smoke and mirrors situation. Show Carcillo in practice, so Detroit alters their lineup in some fashion… then you put Stalberg back in and roll as usual…

    I hope I’m right, but i guess we will fine out in 12 or so hours.

    GO HAWKS.

  39. Mike says:

    I am not sure what the Hawks do will have a real effect on Babcock’s game plan. The Red Wings are not deep enough to juggle players too much. Babcock can juggle his lines during the game, but really is low on reserve players. Detroit is a skilled team but has to play within their system to be successful. Take Detroit out of their system and they are lost. Nobody knows this better than Scotty B. He and Q will do what they need to disrupt that flow.

  40. Tim G says:

    I agree with you Mike… but thats was the only logic i had as to why 13 would be playing in this series. lol. He shouldn’t be anywhere near the ice. In this series, if you want to bench Stalberg, guys like Smith, Morin or Pirri would make more sense. And it looks like Smith is already in over Zus. So, to me, this has to be a ploy to get Detroit to think twice. Babcock isnt some schmo, so like you said, he’s just going to stick to the plan. Which is what we need to do too.

  41. Tom Jaremka says:

    Yea……..good call boys…….this is all jockeying to see who will blink. Again, if Carcillo is in and Stahlberg is out Q needs his head examined. Babcock has been around wayyyy to long to fall for any kind of curveball that Q will throw at him.

    This series is going to be played on the ice and won or lost by the players that got each team, here. I’m not even sure that line match ups and “D” pairings are going to have a huge effect. The players know each other very well, the coaches know each other and the fans know each team. Now it’s just “strap it down and get to it”!!

  42. wall says:

    According to Hawks pregame skate–

    25 is out !!!!!!

    WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. Tim G says:

    WOW… I guess Q has something up his sleeve. (I hope).

  44. Tom Jaremka says:

    Well, I’ve been wrong before, just ask the wife……LOL. I guess Q is smoking some great stuff!!

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