In spite of strong first and third periods by Detroit, the Chicago Blackhawks were determined not to lose their third meeting in eleven nights. They played a solid game, capitalized on some lucky bounces and breaks, and took a 4-1 victory.
The Red Wings had fairly solid control of the first period. Sergei Fedorov escaped on a breakaway attempt shorthanded, but was thwarted by goalie Jocelyn Thibault. Maxim Kuznetsov and Mathieu Dandenault played solid defense, blocking shots and keeping Chicago players’ sticks so tangled up that they couldn’t even get shots on net.
Henrik Zetterberg opened the scoring for Detroit with a power play goal midway through the first. Fedorov made the pass as Zetterberg was crossing the blue line. Zetterberg jumped over a Chicago defenseman who had dropped to block the shot, kept the puck long enough to fool Thibault into going low, then put the puck into the high corner of the net.
The Blackhawks tried to rush back after that, but their scrambling play led them to take a few penalties late in the first and early in the second. They did manage to calm down as the second period got underway, and they capitalized on a failed clearing attempt to tie the game. Chris Chelios made a pass which didn’t cross the blue line, and Kyle Calder picked it up. He passed backwards to Alexei Zhamnov coming up center, and Zhamnov’s shot flew across the goal line before Manny Legace could get his glove on it.
Dandenault took a double minor penalty for holding the stick and unsportsmanlike conduct with 6:40 gone in the period, and the Blackhawks took the lead with a power play goal. Andre Nikolishin brought the puck out from the right boards. His pass took a strange bounce off of Chris Simon and into the net.
Less than a minute later Eric Daze added a goal for his team. He somehow managed to get around the net and stand by the corner uncovered. When the puck trickled through the crease from Mike Eastwood’s deflected shot, Daze was able to flip it in to a wide open corner.
The Red Wings tried to settle the game down and regain control in the third period. They had a number of chances to score, but Thibault was ready for them. The Wings had a good opportunity when Steve Poapst took a penalty for holding with just over five minutes remaining. Unfortunately, the Blackhawks were able to get the puck out at the blue line. Eastwood sent the bouncing puck down the ice to Mark Bell, and Bell got in alone to knock the puck out of the air and into the net to put the game away.
Chicago had 30 shots on net to Detroit’s 27. The Red Wings play their next game tomorrow night, when they travel to Denver for their first meeting of the season with the Colorado Avalanche.
Sean Avery played tonight in place of Igor Larionov, who was scratched so that he could be well-rested for tomorrow night’s game against the Avs.