In spite of valiant play in the second and third periods, the Red Wings' six-game road unbeaten streak was snapped Sunday by the Chicago Blackhawks, who won the game 5-4.
Chicago opened the scoring on the power play. While Sergei Fedorov was serving a penalty for slashing, Chicago's Eric Daze fired on Dominek Hasek. Hasek blocked the shot, but Kyle Calder picked up the rebound and shot it into the net.
The Blackhawks scored again with just under three minutes left in the period. Daze shot the puck from behind the net and banked it off the skate of Michael Nylander, and between Hasek's legs. As if adding insult to injury, the Blackhawks added another goal barely a minute later. On a two-on-one rush, Igor Korolev was able to get the puck past Nicklas Lidstrom and over Hasek to make the score 3-0.
Chicago's penalty killing unit, ranked 27th in the NHL, had to go into action early in the second, when Daze was sent to the box for tripping. They were no match for Detroit's power play. Igor Larionov passed from behind the net to Steve Yzerman, who fired the puck, and Luc Robitaille was on hand to sweep it in behind goalie Jocelyn Thibault.
Despite the energy generated by Robitaille's goal, Chicago got the next two goals. Steve Thomas scored with a bouncing puck just ten seconds after the end of a Detroit penalty to Hasek (served by Brent Gilchrist) for delay of game by firing the puck over the glass. The next was scored by Aaron Downey with 8:46 left in the second period, and was the first goal of his NHL career.
Down by four goals, the Detroit bench pulled Hasek out of the game and sent in Manny Legace to take his place. Hasek, still recovering from stomach flu, had let in five goals on fifteen shots.
The Red Wings got a 5-on-3 opportunity late in the period. Jaroslav Spacek was given two minutes for delay of game for laying on the puck with 4:02 left to play. Just over a minute later, Tony Amonte was sent to the box for slashing. Larionov scored by shooting the puck from behind the net and banking it off the skate of Alexander Karpotsvev and into the net.
They continued with a 5-on-4 power play, since Amonte's penalty had not yet ended. This time, Larionov passed to Robitaille behind the net. Robitaille got it out front to Brett Hull, who fired hard and beat Thibault for the goal.
Detroit held Chicago to only three shots against Legace in the third period, but was only able to score once more. With 8:22 left to play, Larionov won an offensive zone faceoff. The puck bounced free to Robitaille, who shot it past Thibault to score his 599th career goal.
The Red Wings controlled the puck for most of the remainder of the game. Even when they pulled Legace to send in the sixth skater, however, they were not able to beat Thibault again.
Chicago, with new coach Brian Sutter, has not lost a home game yet this season. Shots on goal were 29-18 in the Red Wings' favor.
Detroit will continue their road trip with a game against the Phoenix Coyotes Wednesday night.
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