Wow! That was ugly!
What else can you say?
Being a Chicago Blackhawks fan, I am utterly speechless right now.
That’s just the way it was all game and it hurt to watch. The Hawks looked flat and uninspired. Even the 23,000+ fans that packed the United Center couldn’t get the team going.
With defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom and center Pavel Datsyuk out due to injuries, the Red Wings looked to do more with less during Sunday’s game against the Hawks. It didn’t matter for the Red Wings as they pushed the tempo into Hawks territory and took advantage. It certainly didn’t help that starting Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin was also out due to injuries.
Red Wings forward Marian Hossa started things off with a shorthanded goal while defenders lay in his wake at the 11:21 mark in the first period of the game. With a 1-0 lead already, the Red Wings continued to attack as Johan Franzen scored an unassisted goal with only twenty seconds left in the first period.
It was a pretty uneventful game for the Blackhawks as a whole. Cristobal Huet made his first start of the playoffs and it was a lackluster performance at best. He would go on to give up two more goals to Valterri Filppula and while Marian Hossa scored his second goal of the game only four minutes into the second period. There was a bright spot in the second when young-buck Hawks center Jonathan Toews scored on a power play goal minutes after Filppula’s goal.
The Red Wings Henrik Zetterberg went on to score two more goals, making sure to put the Hawks defenders on their heels. The Hawks eventually started to pack it in their end of the ice and continued to struggle. The Red Wings were very opportunistic throughout, as they scored on several deflection goals while the Hawks floundered.
The Blackhawks couldn’t play their style for the duration of the game. They tried to play physical with the short-handed Red Wings team, but the Wings weren’t fazed. The Blackhawks struggled to get it out of their own zone and push it into their opponent’s territory, as the Wings extended their defense to mid-ice. In doing so, they took advantage of the eager Blackhawks offense with deflections and two-on-one fast breaks.
It’s not looking good for the Blackhawks as they now have to go back to Detroit to play game 5 and potentially game 6, if they can win the first of those two. If they can really figure it out, game 7 would come back to Chicago that would make for a very noisy game. But, let’s focus on game 5.
The younger Hawks squad has to push the tempo in game 5 and keep the Red Wings players in their zone. The Red Wings got too many easy goals with their ability to get out in the open and push it. Things could be even more beneficial for the Blackhawks if goalie Nikolai Khabibulin could start instead of their back up Cristobal Huet. We’ll have to keep our attention on that aspect.
Chicago sports aren’t doing so hot right now. The Cubs and White Sox are stagnating in their respective divisions and the Bulls lost in seven to the Boston Celtics weeks earlier. Keep your fingers crossed Chicago fans and let’s win Game 5!
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Image Credit: Leon Halip/US Presswise