Thanks to their 23 consecutive home wins last season, the Detroit Red Wings know all about putting together historic streaks. On Sunday at Joe Louis Arena, they came tantalizingly close to finding out how it feels to end one.
Trailing 1-0 for most of the third period, the Chicago Blackhawks saw their run of 21 straight games with at least one point to start 2013 put in serious jeopardy. But Patrick Kane scored on the power play with just under two minutes left in regulation, then tallied the only goal in the shootout to ensure his team left Detroit with two more points and the streak intact.
That the game made it for more than 40 minutes without any goals was due in large part to the two goalies. Detroit’s Jimmy Howard was superb in the early going, weathering a first period that saw Chicago out-shoot the home side 9-3. The Red Wings also killed off a pair of first period penalties, and Pavel Datsyuk had the frame’s most interesting chance when he rang a shot off Corey Crawford‘s mask right before the horn.
Both teams threw plenty of rubber at the net in the second period, with Howard having to stand on his head to withstand an onslaught about halfway through. Crawford matched him with a point blank stop on Johan Franzen off a tic-tac-toe passing play with Damien Brunner and Henrik Zetterberg and also made a sprawling stop on Detroit’s late power play.
Tomas Tatar finally broke the deadlock at the 2:43 mark of the third period. Patrick Eaves‘ hustle to chase down a puck along the boards enabled Joakim Andersson to find Tatar in front, and he had a relatively simple conversion for his fourth goal of the season.
Crawford made sure the lead never got any larger, fending off 13 Detroit shots in the third period. The Blackhawks also had some quality chances, but it was ultimately an error by Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson that helped the streak to continue.
Ericsson was called for delay of game with 2:25 to play, putting Chicago on the power play for the third time. A failed clearing attempt was quickly passed from Viktor Stalberg to Kane, and he shot high over Howard to tie the game with 2:02 remaining in regulation.
Niklas Kronwall was also penalized for putting the puck over the glass 39 seconds after the tying goal, but the Red Wings escaped the carry-over and all of the extra period without further mishaps.
Datsyuk and Jonathan Toews both saw their shootout attempts saved, and Brunner looked to have Crawford deked out of his crease before losing the puck without getting off a shot. Kane beat Howard with a tricky (and questionable) double change of pace move, and Crawford stopped Zeterberg to wrap up the victory.
Fittingly, the goalies were named the game’s top two stars. Both Crawford and Howard made 32 saves on 33 shots.
Though no doubt disappointed by not holding on to the lead, the Red Wings can take some solace in earning a point against the NHL’s top team at a time of the season when every point is critical. Detroit will get a chance to bounce back at the Joe on Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche.
The game was over when…
The puck slid off Brunner’s stick in the shootout. Brunner won both of the Detroit’s previous shootouts, and Crawford would have needed some help from the hockey gods to get back across the crease if there was any kind of shot. But the real turning point came on Ericsson’s boneheaded play to earn the delay of game. The feeling of dread was palpable when the Blackhawks went on the power play after that.
The unsung Red Wings hero was…
One of the defensemen, as just about all of them played a part in keeping the Blackhawks attack in check and contributing to Detroit’s 23-8 advantage in hits. Jakub Kindl and Kyle Quincey both played well, but the nod goes to Brian Lashoff for racking up three hits, blocking five shots and logging the most shorthanded ice time of anyone in the lineup.