The Red Wings turned the tables on the Blackhawks on Saturday, right down to the final score.
In a complete role reversal from Game 1, it was the Red Wings who dominated the second and third periods and seemed to be everywhere in a 4-1 win over the Hawks in Game 2 at the United Center that evened the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series at 1-1.
The Red Wings scored 4 straight goals after the Hawks' Patrick Kane opened the scoring at 14:05 of the first period.
“They had the puck a lot and we didn't,” Kane said. “They kind of used our own game against us, playing puck possession, keeping it in. It felt like we were chasing the puck all the time.
“It's a lot of different things. It could be getting the puck back, but also when we do have it don't throw it away. It seemed like we did that a lot tonight, just kind of gave it right back. They regrouped with speed and came right back at us.”
The Hawks managed only 20 shots on goal, getting just 5 in the second period and 7 in the third. The power play was 0-for-2 and looked mostly miserable.
“We knew they were going to come back and play much better than they did in Game 1 and obviously we didn't quite match the effort,” Jonathan Toews said. “I wouldn't say it's a wake-up call. I think we know exactly what we need to improve on and we need to do it right away. There's no time to waste in this series. We know going into their building it's going to be more difficult than it was today.”
The Hawks turned the puck over on 3 of Detroit's 4 goals, leaving goalie Corey Crawford to defend odd-man rushes on his own.
Damien Brunner tipped in a shot by Jakub Kindl past Crawford at 2:40 of the second period to make it 1-1, but Brendan Smith's goal at 16:08 of the second that put Detroit ahead to stay was a killer.
Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson fell at the blue line, allowing Henrik Zetterberg a clear path to the net. Then the Hawks lost Smith pinching from the right point with Zetterberg spotting him from the left of the net for the quick shot past Crawford.
“We made a few mistakes on the rush giving up pucks in the wrong areas,” Toews said. “The last game we played smarter defensively and that was by holding onto the puck and making plays in their zone and keeping it out of the dangerous areas. We didn't do that tonight.”
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville thought his team played a strong first 10 minutes but couldn't sustain it.
“We didn't do what we were hoping to do over the course of the last 50 minutes,” Quenneville said. “We've got to be harder in the tougher areas, particularly at their net. We didn't really look to shoot it. We seemed to be on the outside.
“We lost the momentum that game more by what we didn't do more so on our attack and in the offensive zone. I thought our game was way off as far as the pace that was needed and we weren't smart in certain areas.”
The Red Wings are going home for Game 3 on Monday night confident they have made a series of it.
“Obviously we were disappointed that we didn't play the way we were capable of in Game 1 and so we went through it, had a look at it and felt if we just do what we normally do we'll be right here in a tight series and have an opportunity,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Good for us. It's a best-of-five now.”
Detroit added to its lead with third period goals from Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula.
“This series is a long ways from over, I think,” said Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, who probably hasn't had many easier playoff games. “It was a totally different game.
“They were a lot better than us then (in Game 1),” Zetterberg said. “They skated a lot more and I think we just want to prove to ourselves that we could play a better game and we did.”
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