Red Wings Down Blackhawks, Face Coyotes in Round One

The Detroit Red Wings closed out their regular season with a 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks Sunday afternoon, setting them up for a first round playoff rematch with the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Red Wings and Coyotes met in the 2010 Western Conference Semifinals, a series Detroit won in seven games. The Wings are the only team to have played Phoenix more than once in the postseason, having also met them in the 1998 Conference Semifinals, winning that series in six games.

Detroit’s win put the Blackhawks’ postseason in doubt, as it wasn’t until the Dallas Stars lost to the Minnesota Wild Sunday night that Chicago clinched the eighth spot in the Western Conference and a matchup with the Vancouver Canucks.

The Blackhawks came out strong against Detroit with their season on the line, pressuring Detroit early in the first but coming out of the period in a 0-0 tie despite two power plays.

Michael Frolik opened the game’s scoring at 5:18 of the second, snapping a shot from the high slot past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard on a feed from Patrick Kane. The Red Wings had been prepared to clear the zone until Kane tripped up Brad Stuart in the corner and stole the puck.

Detroit responded just 1:38 later, when Tomas Holmstrom caught up with a loose puck in the neutral zone and jumped into the Chicago end, blasting a shot past Corey Crawford.

Pavel Datsyuk put the Wings in front 62 seconds after that. Datsyuk got the puck to Todd Bertuzzi along the right wing boards for a shot that was knocked down in front. Danny Cleary got to the loose puck and pushed it to Datsyuk in the right circle for a wrister past Crawford.

Drew Miller made it 3-1 at 1:56 of the third, driving to the net to tip the puck in when Valtteri Filppula threw it out front from the left corner.

Brent Seabrook pulled Chicago to back within a goal at 4:07, blasting a shot from the top of the right circle past Howard with former Red Wing Tomas Kopecky screening.

Cleary restored the two-goal lead at 8:11, flicking a shot from the slot past Crawford off of a feed from Bertuzzi.

With 8:38 remaining in regulation, Duncan Keith tracked down a rebound in front of the Detroit net and backhanded a shot over Howard to make it 4-3.

A late power play and an empty net for the extra attacker wouldn’t be enough for the Blackhawks as they failed to tie the game back up, outshooting Detroit 17-9 in the third period.

Chicago was held scoreless on three power play tries on the night, while Detroit did not get a chance with the extra attacker.

Howard finished the afternoon with 33 saves on 36 shots. Crawford stopped 27 of 31 chances.

The Red Wings are now off until they open their series against Phoenix on Wednesday.


Detroit was without Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall and Patrick Eaves on Sunday. Kronwall and Eaves are expected to be available to start the playoffs but Zetterberg’s status is uncertain.

Red Wings – Blackhawks Postgame Thoughts

Lots of post-game news coming in so I’ll stick mostly with my thoughts while everything gets sorted out.

The Red Wings were just surviving until Chicago opened the game’s scoring. Then it was like a switch was flipped. We’ve seen that switch flipped before – sometimes it’s just for a game and sometimes it’s for a playoff run. It’s good to see but it’s terrifying that it was necessary.

I said repeatedly that Pavel Datsyuk was outplaying Marian Hossa. Datsyuk had a hell of a game. It’s fantastic to see him back.

Jimmy Howard also had a fantastic game. Made 33 stops on the afternoon, including some spectacular stops. He appears to be back.

I loved the second line tonight, whether it was Valtteri Filppula or Justin Abdelkader centering Danny Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi. They were getting into the corners and moving the puck well. Sustained pressure in the Chicago zone combined with great passing from Bertuzzi caused Cleary’s eventual game-winner.

On the penalties… People seem to be up in arms over Abdelkader’s hit on Seabrook so I’ll say, fine, we’re even. Hit to Seabrook uncalled, stick to Franzen’s face uncalled. No, I’m not happy with how the penalties worked out but I love how the Detroit PK came to play.

Detroit moves on to face Phoenix in the first round. Not thrilled about the travel or that the Coyotes always play the Wings well. You don’t want to get caught trying to pick your poison in the playoffs, though. In all honesty, there was no one I wanted to have to play.

Dallas can make the playoffs and knock out the Blackhawks out with a win in regulation or OT tonight. I don’t think I’ll watch that one.