Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford can only look down the ice as Carlo Colaiacovo (No. 28), Jakub Kindl (No. 4), Corey Emmerton (No. 25) and Patrick Eaves (No. 17) of the Detroit Red Wings smother teammate Drew Miller (No. 20) after the latter scored his crucial second-period goal in Game 3 of their NHL Western Conference semifinal series on Monday, May 20, 2013 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. The Wings won 3-1 to take a 2-1 series lead.
Photograph by: Dave Reginek, NHLI via Getty Images
DETROIT — Items that may grow up to be columns, Vol. XV, Chapter 5:
OXYGEN, PLEASE — What began as just a regular, sort-of-under-siege penalty kill turned into a monster three-minute-plus shift for Detroit’s Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller at the start of the second period of Monday night’s 3-1 Game 3 victory at Joe Louis Arena.
The Wings lead the series 2-1 with Game 4 on Thursday.
Asked if he was aware that he was on the ice for 3:15, while the Chicago Blackhawks pinned the Red Wings in their zone during and after defenceman Brendan Smith’s holding penalty, Eaves chuckled.
“I was very aware and so were my lungs, and my legs were very aware,” he said. “You don’t want to be a part of those shifts. But that’s what you train all summer for.”
Miller, who would score a few minutes later, the second of two Red Wing goals in a 31-second span that changed everything about the game, said that on the bench after the marathon shift “you’ve got to put your head down and try to catch your breath a little bit. I didn’t know it was that long. You try not to do that. That one’s going to bring my average shift length up, I think.”
THE GOALIE VIEW — Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, who was superb on that kill and all night, stopping 39 of 40 Chicago shots, called Monday’s game “probably the fastest playoff game I've ever been a part of.”
Asked about the never-ending shift, he said, “You mean, where we were all dying?
“(Miller) blocked about five shots on that penalty kill. He’s such a key player for us, he does his job so well, getting the puck out along the boards, blocking shots on the PK and he got rewarded with that goal tonight. It just shows how hard work pays off.”
GOAL, NO GOAL — The crowd loved it, the Red Wings loved it, but not everyone was enamoured when Viktor Stalberg’s third-period goal, which would have tied the game 2-2, was waved off because Andrew Shaw, parked in the goal crease, was judged to be impeding Howard’s ability to stop the shot.
“I wasn't down there so I don't know exactly what happened,” said Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, “but I find it hard to believe from what I saw that our player restricted the goaltender from making a save. The puck came from the same side and he was against his post. I don't understand that one.”
It was, however, another night of odd calls and non-calls, including a crosscheck on Wings’ Johann Franzen by Niklas Hjalmarsson that was let go, leading to the Blackhawks’ only goal, by Patrick Kane, while Franzen was still lying in the corner 200 feet away.
TOEWS’ TRIALS — Now goal-less in eight playoff games, Toews was more involved Monday than in Game 2, but had no joy in the offensive zone.
“I'm not going to let it get the best of me. I know I'm doing good things,” he said. “I'm very confident that it's going to come. The team is facing a little adversity and I am on a personal basis. Not going to let that stop us, or me.
“I think this series is a long way from over, and they know that, too.”
The Blackhawks flew home after the game because of the extra day off before Game 4, and the Red Wings took Tuesday off entirely.
HOT WINGS — As the playoffs move forward, the Red Wings, who barely scraped into the playoffs, seem to be growing rapidly as a team. Anything surprise you about that, Brent Seabrook?
“Detroit doesn’t surprise anybody anymore I don’t think. They know how to win. They’ve been there before. They’ve won a lot of games. They’ve won a lot of big games. We’ve got to come out with a better effort,” said the Hawks’ defenceman, who was beaten one-on-one with a clever, high-speed move by rookie Gustav Nyquist on the first Red Wing goal.
REGRETS? A FEW — Mike Babcock was asked about his memories of coaching Marian Hossa with the Red Wings in 2008-09, when Detroit lost the Cup final to Pittsburgh, but he went further back than that.
“First time I saw Hoss was the ’97 world junior,” Babcock said, “and I came back and told our general manager in Spokane that we needed to get him. We weren’t willing to pay the 50 grand to get him, Portland got him, they won the Memorial Cup, and I’ve followed him ever since.
“He’s just got better and better. He’s a great two-way player, makes plays, skilled, big body, played real well for us with the Red Wings. We had to make financial decisions as you know you have to ... so he’s gone to a good team, plays real well with Toews — good player.”
MONEY? WHAT MONEY? — Hossa, who still gets booed by the fans in Detroit, wasn’t too sure about the $50,000.
“Haha, I don’t know the details of that,” the big winger smiled Monday. “That’s the first I heard of it, after so many years. You have to ask Mike.”
As he recalls it, he went to Portland because Slovak Julius Supler was an assistant coach on Brent Peterson’s staff.
Money has always been a factor in Hossa’s free agent choices — he’s in the fourth year of a 12-year, $62.8-million contract with Chicago that pays him $7.9 million for each of the first seven seasons — but it’s no accident he’s ended up on good teams. He didn’t pick Florida or Columbus in his travels.
“There are some similarities,” he said. “You always have a really good (one-two) punch, like in Pittsburgh (he was traded by Atlanta) you had Malkin-Crosby, in Detroit you had Zetterberg-Datsyuk and here you got Kane and Toews, so there’s some similarities, and also the young talent.”
But he said it wasn’t about cherry-picking the best team.
“My agent (Rich Winter) has been involved in hockey a long time and we talk and he sees all the numbers, and knows what teams can afford this type of players,” Hossa said, “and you see the list of teams and also there’s different styles, right? And they have to want you. If they don’t want you, there’s no choice.
“I was lucky where I was in great teams, great organizations.”
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