Blackhawks rally in third period to force Game 7
DETROIT -- It was going to be another long off-season for Corey Crawford.
As well as Crawford has played in these playoffs, he was going to be remembered for the one he didn't catch Monday night at Joe Louis Arena -- Joakim Andersson's floater that sailed over Crawford's glove at 10:11 of the second period to snap a 1-1 tie.
But Crawford's teammates bailed him out with a stunning 3-goal, third-period rally for a 4-3 victory that forced a seventh and deciding game in the Western Conference semifinals Wednesday at the United Center.
Michal Handzus scored 51 seconds into the third period to tie it before Bryan Bickell scored the go-ahead goal at 5:48 on a pass from Jonathan Toews.
Michael Frolik scored on a penalty shot at 9:43 to make it 4-2. Frolik became the first player in NHL history to score 2 penalty shot goals in the playoffs.
"I lost it," Crawford said of Andersson's goal that Red Wings coach Mike Babcock called a gift. "It's a brutal one, obviously, but I was able to rebound after that. I just told myself it can't get worse than that and to come up with the next save."
Handzus was left all alone in front to beat goalie Jimmy Howard less than a minute into the third period. Niklas Hjalmarsson found him with a backhand pass from along the wall, and Handzus had plenty of time to pick his spot.
"We were down 1 goal and usually we try to pinch as defensemen and throw the puck at the net," Hjalmarsson said. "He did a good job getting in front of the net there and waited for the goalie to go down.
"It was a huge momentum goal because we kind of took over the game for a little bit. I don't think any player has been alone for that long throughout the whole series."
Bickell outworked Brendan Smith in front for his fifth goal of the playoffs, swatting home a feed from Toews.
Frolik scored on his penalty shot at 9:43 of the third on a move nobody had seen before. Frolik came in on Howard with speed and backhanded the puck high into the net.
"This year during the lockout I was successful in the Czech (League) doing it in the shootouts," Frolik said. "It was kind of my move, and I'm glad it worked out."
Frolik said he was a little surprised to get the penalty shot call after he was whacked on his hand on a breakaway.
"I tried to do my move and he hit me on the hand and kind of lost it," Frolik said. "It wasn't a big hook or a big slash, but I felt his stick on my hand and the referee called it."
There were no rah-rah talks in the dressing room before the third period, just a feeling of being positive.
"It was just pure confidence and our heads were in the right spot," Toews said. "We knew what we had to do and we weren't panicking."
The quick goal by Handzus was exactly what was needed.
"There was no negative talk," Bickell said. "The talk was all positive. We felt if we stuck with our game we could do it. Coming on the ice we felt confident and took over.
"Getting that first goal by Zeus was huge. I felt when we got that goal it got us fired up to carry on."
The Hawks now have all the momentum in the series going home for their first Game 7 since losing to Vancouver in overtime in 2011.
"We feel all our hard work is paying off," Toews said. "We're finding ways and doing the right things to score goals and we're confident when we get those chances they're going to go in."
The Hawks actually opened the scoring on Marian Hossa's power-play goal at 3:53 of the first period. Hossa fought off a check to tap in a Toews rebound for the Hawks' third power-play goal in the last two games.
The net became dislodged while the puck was crossing the line, but a video review upheld the goal.
It stayed that way until nearly a minute remained in the period when Patrick Eaves scored on a rebound with 1:09 to play.
"We made some young mistakes in the third period and they ended up in our net," Babcock said. "I think tonight gave us a sense of confidence. It's not like they came in here and squashed us or anything. They got what we gave them tonight.
"I think if I would have told Detroit, Michigan, before this series that we were going to play Chicago in Game 7, I think everybody would have been pretty excited. I love Game 7s. We got a chance to push them out of the playoffs."
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