After being shut out by the Chicago Blackhawks in Detroit on December 17, the Red Wings traveled to Chicago to return the favor, defeating the Blachawks 5-0 before a sellout crowd at the United Center.
Brendan Shanahan opened the scoring with 6:26 left in the first period. Kris Draper passed to Sergei Fedorov in the right corner, and Fedorov sent it out to Shanahan at the right circle. Shanahan sent off a quick wrist shot, and the puck slid past netminder Jocelyn Thibault.
Detroit increased their lead and their momentum with only nineteen seconds left in the first. The Red Wings won an offensive zone faceoff, and Luc Robitaille got the puck back to Chris Chelios at the blue line. Chelios fired hard and the puck flew past Thibault.
The Red Wings ended their power play drought 4:49 into the second period, while Michael Nylander was in the box for high-sticking. Brett Hull fired hard from the left point. Tomas Holmstrom was able to take the rebound from Thibault and pass it between his legs over to Luc Robitaille, who flipped it into the net to score his first goal in ten games and the Red Wings’ first power play goal in twenty-five tries.
Hull added to the Red Wings’ lead five minutes later. Steve Yzerman got the puck in the right corner, then sent a centering pass out front. Boyd Devereaux was too well covered to take the pass, but Hull was right behind him to take the puck and snap it past Thibault.
The Chicago bench decided at this point to pull Thibault from the net and send in backup goalie Steve Passmore. However, Passmore had to face a five-on-three Detroit power play right away as, Darren McCarty and Ryan Vandenbussche were given offsetting penalties for fighting. Vandenbussche was also called on an interference minor and Bob Probert was given a roughing penalty and a misconduct for taking a swipe at Dominik Hasek, all at the same time.
Yzerman fired the shot from the point, and Shanahan passed the rebound across the crease to Igor Larionov, who lifted the puck into the net behind Passmore. The Red Wings continued on a five-on-four power play, but this time Hasek had to make a sprawling save to stop a Chicago breakaway opportunity by Steve Sullivan.
The Red Wings took their lead and shut down the Blackhawks’ offense almost completely in the third period, holding them to only five shots in the twenty minutes of play.
Thibault stopped twelve of sixteen shots before being pulled, and Passmore was able to stop eight of the nine shots sent against him. Hasek stopped all twenty-three of the shots he faced, to earn his fifty-ninth career shutout and bypass Ed Belfour and Patrick Roy to become the shutout leader among active goaltenders. This game, coupled with the 3-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks on December 21, marks the first time the Red Wings have earned back-to-back shutouts since January of 1998.
The Red Wings will travel to face the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night.