8 Blackhawks, 5 Red Wings: Bad, good, then bad again

Winging It In Motown

The Detroit Red Wings lined up across from another Original Six franchise in the Chicago Blackhawks. In their first matchup of the season back in late October, the Red Wings came out on top in a 6-3 victory and Lucas Raymond’s first career hat-trick. Tonight,

First Period

The Red Wings started the game all over the Blackhawks defense. Every line was clicking. Even players who have been struggling to score, like Filip Zadina, were getting chances to put the puck in the net. Unfortunately, Marc-Andre Fleury stood tall. The Blackhawks got their first shot on goal with six minutes gone into the first with a weak Brandon Hagel backhand off the rush that Alex Nedeljkovic fended off with relative ease.

After the commercial break, both teams got a good chance. The Blackhawks got a deflection in front of the net that just trickled wide, and the Red Wings took a zone clear the other way into a two-on-one odd-man rush. Vladislav Namestnikov couldn’t get the puck by Fleury on the pass from Dylan Larkin.

Thanks to Caleb Jones having an incredible shift, the Blackhawks finally got some significant opportunities. He controlled the play at the blue line, kept the puck in the zone, and the best chance came in front on a rebound shot from Jonathan Toews. It was the first substantial amount of possession that Chicago managed, and it came at the halfway mark of the period. Then, on a three on two odd-man rush, the Blackhawks managed to put the puck in the net. After a possession entry, Philipp Kurashev wired a pass to Seth Jones, who fired the puck on the net. It squeaked through Nedeljkovic after hitting Filip Hronek’s stick, and Dominik Kubalik managed to put the puck in the net. Despite a strong early effort from the Red Wings, the Blackhawks grabbed the 1-0 lead.

Former Blackhawks Pius Suter took a tripping penalty at 7:56 in the first period, and the first power play unit of the Blackhawks was able to convert. They took a 2-0 lead on a tip-in from Dylan Strome off a great pass from Alex Debrincat. Chicago had two goals in 2:16 and the last eight shots on goal at this point in the period, so to say the Red Wings lost all momentum would be accurate.

The Blackhawks took a 3-0 lead after Larkin threw the puck backward, thinking a defenseman would be waiting for the puck. Instead, Patrick Kane took advantage, gained the zone, and threw the puck backhand to Strome, who sniped top corner on Nedeljkovic.

With 31.5 seconds left in the first period, the Blackhawks added another goal to make it 4-0. Strome recorded his third point of the period and the game on the Sam Lafferty goal. The period went from good to bad to worse in a very short period. The Blackhawks earned 14 of the last 15 shots, and the Red Wings headed to the locker room with a significant deficit in front of them.

Second Period

The Red Wings changed things by pulling Nedeljkovic and bringing in Calvin Pickard to start the second period. It paid off. The Red Wings finally started pressuring the puck on the forecheck, and at 14:15 in the second period, the Red Wings cashed in. De Haan threw a puck through the middle of the ice to no one; Robby Fabbri picked it off and put it under Fleury to cut the Blackhawks lead to three goals.

At 13:19, they did it again. Tyler Bertuzzi and Hronek had some excellent puck movement through the neutral zone, and Bertuzzi driving to the net, was able to put the puck by the goaltender Fleury to cut the Blackhawks’ lead in half at 4-2. At this point, the momentum shifted in favor of the Red Wings. They had an abbreviated power play in which they created a chance or two, and then thanks to a high-sticking penalty on Strome, they got another whack at it. Fabbri got an opportunity to put in his second goal of the game, but in front of the net, de Haan got enough of his stick to keep the shot from going into the wide-open cage. Ultimately, the Red Wings did not cash on the man advantage.

The Red Wings kept the momentum up and didn’t stop hunting for a goal. With 13 seconds left in the period, former Blackhawk Suter was able to bury a shot to cut the Blackhawks lead to just one. Bertuzzi’s screen on Fleury was a huge catalyst in why the shot was able to go in, so even though he won’t get an assist on the scoresheet, he was just as important as anyone on that play. The third period’s outlook changed dramatically in 20 minutes of play.

Third Period

The Red Wings were looking to come back from the one-goal deficit in the third period, and they didn’t start the period off very strong. Debrincat got a breakaway off of a flubbed puck, but Pickard managed to make an excellent save and even made a save on the chances that came after it before Suter got his third penalty of the game. This time he headed to the box for hooking.

Unfortunately, the Blackhawks were able to convert. Strome completed the hat-trick on a deflection from a Seth Jones shot from the point. He walked the blue line, threw it to the net, and Marc Staal could not completely block Strome out. It’s his first NHL hat-trick, a career-high four-point game, and his second power play goal on the night. That goal made the game 5-3.

Givani Smith made an impact by getting into it with de Haan and Connor Murphy after taking a slash or two on the hands from de Haan when bringing the puck around the net. Murphy came in and jumped Smith, so the referees evened up the penalties, but Smith got a 10-minute misconduct too.

The Red Wings had an odd-man rush but a great defensive play from Caleb Jones and a solid three-on-one rush through the neutral zone. A great passing play from Jones to Toews to Debrincat made the goal into the empty cage. Just like that, the Blackhawks had a 6-3 lead.

Ryan Carpenter took a slashing penalty with 8:35 remaining in the period, and the Red Wings were finally able to cash in. Moritz Seider blasted a one-timer on a smooth feed from Raymond to score his fourth of the season and make the game 6-4.

The Red Wings took the momentum and ran with it. After some solid saves from Pickard, Larkin took advantage of weak defense in the high slot and sniped the puck over the glove of Fleury. It was an absolute rip to make the game within one goal again.

After the faceoff, Hagel got hit along the wall by Jordan Oesterle, which could have been interference. However, he is the beneficiary of the referees not making a call because Nick Leddy threw the puck through the middle of the ice right to his stick, and he put one by Pickard to make the game 7-5. If that isn’t shooting yourself in the foot, I don’t know what is.

The Red Wings pulled the goalie but couldn’t get anything of substance going. DeBrincat took the puck down the ice and fired it home into the empty net to make the game 8-5, which ended up as the final score.

The Red Wings shot themselves in the foot multiple times tonight. Although they did manage to put up five goals on the defending Vezina Trophy winner, allowing eight goals, including four in the first period, is always unacceptable. Puck management was terrible, and the amount of odd-man rushes that were allowed can’t continue to happen. To a neutral fan, it was an exciting game full of goal-scoring. However, Red Wings fans have every right to be frustrated at this performance. It’s not good enough if they want to remain even close to the second wild-card spot.

That’s all from me! Have a great night, everyone, and go Red Wings!

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