Blackhawks To Start ’09 NHL Season On Long Euro Trip
Red Wings Use Home Ice To Go Up 2-0
Total Pro Sports - Yesterday provided another stellar night of NHL playoff hockey as the only game on tap had enough excitement for any hockey fan watching. Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals between the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks ended when Mikael Samuelsson converted on a 3-on-1 in the first overtime to give the Wings the 3-2 win, and a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series.
Chicago opened the scoring on the powerplay when a centering pass from captain Jonathan Toews banked off the skate of a Wings defenseman to make it 1-0. The Wings replied with a powerplay goal of their own, after a Brian Rafalski shot found its way through a crowd and past Nikolai Khabibulin to tie the game.
The second period saw less shots on goal than the first, but it did provide a Dan Cleary break-a-way that resulted in a goal to make it 2-1 for Detroit. That was how the period would end, meaning the Blackhawks would have the difficult task of coming back in the third against a Wings team that is especially tough in the final frame.
Despite being slightly outshot, the Hawks kept themselves in the game and produced some chances of their own in the third, and Toews would end up scoring his second with 7:40 left to tie the game at 2-2. Overtime would be needed, and that worked out well for Detroit, who used their depth up front to keep the pressure on Chicago until their third line of Samuelsson, Hudler and Filppula would play tic-tac-toe on a three-on-one break, eventually burying the winner past a scrambling Khabibulin.
Going home down 2-0, Chicago will hope that home-ice-advantage is just what the doctor ordered for their comeback. They will also hope that the doc has something for Patrick Kane, as he has been invisible thus far in the series, recording no points and only 3 shots in the two games, while recording a plus/minus of -5. Those are not numbers that Chicago can afford from their young superstar if they expect to defeat the defending cup champions.
The Blackhawks will also want to try and figure out a way to slow down the balanced scoring attack of the Red Wings. With Cleary scoring 3 goals thus far and Samuelsson getting two of his own, it has been the depth players providing the markers for the high powered offense. While Datsyuk, Holmstrom, and Hossa remain silent on the score sheet, the Wings continue to score. If only Scotty Bowman can use some of his old tricks to help this young Chicago team (remember, he is now part of Chicago’s front office team). Maybe Friday, hours prior to game 3 will be a good time to paint the visitors dressing room. Yes, even the great Scotty Bowman has pulled a few strings in his career.