With the help of a ridiculously selfish boarding penalty by forward Justin Abdelkader in the last 20 seconds of regulation, the Blackhawks capitalized on a power play opportunity early into overtime when Duncan Keith clapped home a slapshot from the point. Abdelkader, who had just returned to the Red Wings lineup after being out due to a sprained MCL since December 1, boarded defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson for what seemed to be no reason at all. The penalty was the difference, and the Blackhawks finish their four-game homestand taking a perfect 8 of 8 potential points in the standings. Let’s break it down:
The opening stages of the game were all Blackhawks. Brian Campbell cashed in first for the Hawks, scoring from the point on the power play at 10:04. Assists went to Toews and Hossa. Just 26 seconds later, Richard Panik put a rebound in after Ryan Hartman’s breakaway attempt was denied by Petr Mrazek. The period ended 2-0 Hawks, and they led in shots 16-7. The Blackhawks managed to stay out of the box for the entirety of the period, while Detroit took three minor penalties. As a Hawks fan, there were no complaints to be made after 20 minutes of play.
The 2nd period didn’t go so smoothly for Chicago. Andreas Athanasiou scored on a wrist shot at 1:37, with an assist from Thomas Vanek. At 9:09, Tomas Tatar beat Corey Crawford with a wrist shot only moments after serving his second penalty of the night. Dylan Larkin got the assist on the Tatar tally. With the score now 2-2, the Blackhawks needed to respond with some energy, which they got from their fourth line all night. Tanner Kero played nearly 11 minutes tonight, and took advantage of every second. He scored on a gritty rebound at 18:18 with assists from Hartman and Panik, who each had two points tonight. The Red Wings would respond again in typical Blackhawks fashion. The late goal seems to be Chicago’s weakness these days, and it got them again tonight. Lackadaisical play in front of their own net led to a Luke Glendening goal off of himself and then Brian Campbell and in behind Crawford at 19:41. The Blackhawks looked far from how they did one period before, but had one more period to clean things up on the ice. Shot totals in the period were 20-11 Detroit.
The 3rd period was a scoreless one, and certainly the most exciting of the three. The Blackhawks had two power play opportunities that they failed to capitalize on, while Detroit had a few chances of their own down the stretch to take the game into their own hands. The biggest gaffe of the game, however, took place at 19:44 when Justin Abdelkader took Niklas Hjalmarsson hard into the glass and was called for boarding immediately. The Blackhawks lost the ensuing faceoff, and time ran out on them to make something happen in regulation. The period ended 3-3, with the Blackhawks outshooting Detroit 15-9 in the period, and 42-36 in regulation. What wasn’t considered to be a highly anticipated Blackhawks-Red Wings matchup like previous had been, this game held its own and now required extra time to determine its winner.
Well, this didn’t take long. The Blackhawks took possession of the puck after the opening faceoff, set up their power play positioning, and then Artemi Panarin found Duncan Keith at the point and he ripped a one-timer past Petr Mrazek, who was down already and too deep in his net. The Red Wings fought back after being down multiple times throughout the game, but the Hawks prevailed 4-3 when it was all said and done.
- The Blackhawks stayed out of the box for the most part, taking a penalty while on the power play (Kane), and taking another one that offset a Jonathan Ericsson hooking infraction (Hartman). Never being short-handed all night, the Blackhawks penalty killers got the night off, which Corey Crawford must have enjoyed as well.
- The Blackhawks put 43 shots on Petr Mrazek. Any night with 40+ shots on net is a good one. Every Blackhawks player that was dressed (besides Crawford) put at least one shot on net tonight.
- The fourth line was awesome. The Rasmussen-Kero-Tootoo line played hard, generating 7 shots on goal, 4 of which were from Tanner Kero. This line did its job tonight and it definitely didn’t go unnoticed.
- Four wins in-a-row. The Blackhawks head to Washington for a matchup with the Capitals on Friday carrying four straight wins with them. This is the perfect confidence required to go into Washington and beat a tough Eastern Conference team like Alexander Ovechkin’s Capitals.
A great team win by the Blackhawks overall, it’s just too bad Detroit doesn’t come to town as often anymore. Thanks a lot, NHL.