Blackhawks beat Red Wings 4-1 to stay alive
Toews, Shaw score on power plays to get team to Detroit for Monday’s Game 6
Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks makes a save off of his stick against the Detroit Red Wings in Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on May 25, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.
Photograph by: Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images
CHICAGO — Never mind deep-dish pizza. That’s all very well as a signature dish for Windy City tourists, but the real Chicago happy meal, 2010 Stanley Cup edition, always included ingredients as follows:
Punishing hits from big bodies, irritating provocateurs, speed and top-six skill up front, a No. 1 defence pairing of Canadian Olympians, a bellyful of that Chelsea Dagger goal-celebration song and, oh yes, a Conn Smythe Trophy-calibre captain.
Until Saturday night, the Chicago Blackhawks hadn’t given much indication that they remembered the recipe. It hadn’t been required in a tepid first-round dismissal of the Minnesota Wild, and through four games of their Western semifinal against the Detroit Red Wings, they looked as though they might have even forgotten how to get to the kitchen.
But facing elimination and a summer of recrimination and self-loathing for wasting a Presidents’ Trophy season, the Blackhawks rediscovered the formula in the nick of time — and after a comprehensive 4-1 beating of the Wings before 22,014 fans at United Center, they have definitely re-established their intentions.
The Hawks still trail three games to two heading back to Detroit for Monday’s Game 6, but they’ve given the Wings something to think about.
With a pair of second-period power play goals — the first a nifty deflection by Andrew Shaw and then a slump-buster by the much put-upon captain, Jonathan Toews — the Blackhawks finally got their wheels and muscles in gear, showing the qualities that made them the NHL’s No. 1 regular-season team.
Bryan Bickell opened scoring for the home team in the first period, Detroit’s Danny Cleary equalized early in the second, before the Chicago power play broke it open — and Shaw added another early in the third period to quell any thoughts of a Detroit comeback.
“I just think for three games, they had the momentum,” said Toews, who was a force all over the ice, “and it didn’t seem to matter what we did, the bounces went their way, and I think maybe we cut that off and stole the momentum a little bit.
“I’ve been saying it over and over the past couple of days, that if you stay positive and stick with it, things have to turn your way eventually, and they did tonight.”
The Hawks didn’t leave much to the imagination in revealing their game plan. The Madhouse on Madison was still echoing with Jim Cornelison’s rousing Star-Spangled Banner when the home side commenced spangling the boards with Detroit bodies.
In the first three minutes, Shaw levelled Wings’ Jakub Kindl behind the net, and the glowering Bickell rattled rookie Joakim Andersson at centre ice with a temblor that must have registered on the Richter scale, and not long after that defenceman Brent Seabrook emerged from Joel Quenneville’s doghouse to flatten Andersson’s linemate, Damien Brunner.
“I feel like it’s part of my game, get the crowd into it, to get a hit and slow them down any way possible, to hit their D on the dump-ins,” said the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Bickell, who smiled at mention of the hit on Andersson.
“Yeah, I got him up good, I think he hit one of those doors near the penalty box.”
The heavy work seemed to have the desired effect, and appropriately enough, it was Bickell who both started and finished the opening scoring play, taking the puck off Detroit rearguard Jonathan Ericsson at the blue-line then rifling home Patrick Kane’s rebound 14 minutes in.
But the other ingredients were well-represented, too. Quenneville put his trusty go-to scoring line of Toews between Kane and Patrick Sharp back together, and it seemed to lend life to all three.
The Blackhawks outshot Detroit 45-26 and were 2-for-2 on the power play, while the Wings were 0-for-4.
“We felt like we had control of the game, puck possession, the plays we drew on the board were working, and getting a couple of power play goals gave us a spark,” said Bickell, “and to see Jonathan get his first, it’s nice to see that smile on his face, instead of the frown. I feel like he’s got that first one now, there’s many more to come.”
Reunited with Duncan Keith after having been relegated to the third pairing, Seabrook had a big night, unloading a series of bombs from the point on the power play that ended with Shaw’s deflection of a waist-high Keith shot.
“We took advantage of (Pavel) Datsyuk losing his stick on the first one, really put a lot of pucks on the net there, and pounded it, and the second one was a great shot by Toewser,” said Seabrook, of the captain’s wrist shot from the right side that glanced off the mask of Jimmy Howard and in on the short side.
“I think we battled harder on those two power plays than we had the whole playoffs, so that was good to see.”
Home ice seemed to agree with Marian Hossa, too, and then, on the irritant front, the reliably infuriating David Bolland was frequently under the Wings’ skin, most notably when he suckered Abdelkader into a retaliation penalty after Bolland had been whistled for tripping Datsyuk.
Abdelkader tickled his ribs with the tip of his stick blade and Bolland doubled over like Lee Harvey Oswald taking Jack Ruby’s bullet to the gut. The refs bought it, of course, assessed a minor each way — and that lack of judgment and discipline, too, was part of Detroit’s problem.
“We weren’t good enough at all tonight. We gave them too much space, they were just free-wheelin’ out there and having fun,” said Detroit coach Mike Babcock, who had hoped his team would be able to match the Hawks’ level of urgency, but knew it might be a big ask.
“Anybody who’s been in the league a little while knows how hard it is to close it out, and anybody who hasn’t is probably surprised.”
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