The Wings took a 3-1 series lead after leaving the Joe last week to head back to Chicago for game 5. The Wings were on the verge of putting away the NHL’s best regular season team in 5 games. Saturday night game 5 kicked off in Chicago, all pressure on Chicago to get it done in their own building and keep their series alive. Bryan Bickell scored the lone goal of the first period 14 minutes in, to give the Hawks the 1-0 lead. Dan Cleary chipped one in for Detroit to put them back in the game at the half way point of the second period. Andrew Shaw scored the go ahead powerplay goal with a little under 7 minutes remaining in the second period. Two minutes later, Jonathan Toews finally scored his first of the post season. Toews powerplay goal gave the Hawks a dominating 3-1 goal lead with 4 minutes left in the second period of a game that Chicago had complete control of. Shaw scored his second goal of the night 7 minutes into the 3rd period. Chicago closed out the game and won the must win game 4-1. Chicago outskated and outworked the Wings in game 5 and deserved the win. The powerplay was huge for the Hawks. Detroit’s special teams need to be better. The penalty kill is allowing weak goals, the powerplay has been silent but for one goal in the series.
With pressure shifted to Detroit for game 6, the Wings were up 3-2 in the series and playing their final home game against the divisional rival they’ve known for so long. With a chance to close out the series for the second game in a row, Detroit headed home where they were 5-1 this post season. The Hawks were once again backed against a wall coming into the Joe. The Hawks came out swinging, and put pressure on Detroit early. Marian Hossa opened the scoring on the powerplay 5 minutes in for his 5th of the post-season to give Chicago the early lead on Detroit. The Wings answered back with just under 2 minutes remaining in the first period when Patrick Eaves scored to tie the game and give Detroit momentum back. Joakim Andersson scored the only goal in the second period to give the Wings a 2-1 lead half way through regulation on a bullet ripped from the inside the blueline. The Wings played well throughout the second period, but they were unable to close out the game in the third. The Hawks came out with their season on the line, and played how we all expected them to play all series long. Michal Handzus scored to tie the game under a minute into the period. Bryan Bickell scored to take the lead for the Hawks a few minutes later. The Hawks took control in the third and didn’t let up. Michael Frolik broke away on a breakaway about half way through the 3rd period, when Carlo Colaiacovo was called for slashing Frolik and was given a penalty shot. Frolik buried the opportunity on the back hand and put the Blackhawks up 4-2 with 10 minutes remaining. Damien Brunner scored his 5th of the playoffs with under a minute left in the game, but it was all for false hope, as Chicago went on to win 4-3 and tie the series 3-3.
The series will head back to Chicago for game seven on Wednesday night. Chicago has answered the call and come back from a 3-1 series deficit. Detroit’s collapse in the third period of game six will haunt them all summer if they are unable to beat the Hawks on Wednesday. Detroit’s youth is catching up to them now, the countless giveaways have killed Detroit all series long, and it once again came back to haunt them. There was a lot of talk after the game about the refereeing that went on in the later stages of the game, but you can’t only blame the referees. Detroit gave the game to Chicago in the first half of the period, and Chicago took it with no questions asked. I have no issues with most of the non-calls, but it’s the inconsistency from the referees that I can’t stand. Marian Hossa’s first goal of the game, was on a powerplay due to a penalty called on Jakub Kindl, however, later into the period, there were numerous plays that were more blatantly interference than Kindl’s play he was called on. Even the breakaway that lead to the penalty shot was questionable call. In my opinion, in the payoffs, when a team’s season is on the line, you can’t make bad calls. There’s no wiggle room for referees to give away games in the post-season. Now, I’m not blaming the referees for where this series is, either way I believe the Hawks would have gotten the win, but the referees changed the momentum on calls that I didn’t agree with, it’s easy to place the blame on them. Detroit’s special teams have to be better for them in game 7. The powerplay has been powerless while Chicago’s has been powerful. Chicago needs to keep the speed and intensity that they’ve played with in the last two games, and they should be able to squeak out a win in Chicago. Either way, game 7 will be an intense nail biter for sure, and the winner will go on to the Western Conference Finals to play the winner of the San Jose Sharks and the L.A. Kings game seven Tuesday night.
Topics: 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, Andrew Shaw, Bryan Bickell, Carlo Colaiacovo, Chicago Blackhawks, Damien Brunner, Dan Cleary, Detroit Red Wings, Jakub Kindl, Joakim Andersson, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Michael Frolik, Michal Handzus, Patrick Eaves