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Matchup: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Detroit Red Wings
Venue: Joe Louis Arena; Detroit, MI
Time: 8:00 PM EST
Television: NBC Sports Network; CBC
Series: Detroit leads 3-2
The Red Wings wanted to make quick work of the Chicago Blackhawks after taking a 3-1 series advantage so that the Blackhawks could not gain any momentum in this series. The plan did not go accordingly, and the Red Wings dropped game five by a score of 4-1 to cut the series deficit to 3-2. The Red Wings will get a second chance to eliminate the Blackhawks tonight in game six in front of what will be the loudest game of the playoffs at Joe Louis Arena to date.
For the third time in this series, the Blackhawks were able to strike for the first goal of the game when Brian Bickell was able to collect a rebound off of Jimmy Howard‘s pads and fire the puck into the open net. Despite the score, the first period was played fairly closely with the Blackhawks getting only one more shot on net than the Red Wings at 12-11. Failure to score anymore goals by either team ended the period with the Blackhawks going to the lockerroom with a 1-0 lead.
The Red Wings came out in the second period determined to even up the score. It was not until the 9:37 mark of the second period that the Red Wings were able to get a puck past Core Crawford when Dan Cleary was able to bounce the puck off of Crawford’s skate and into the net to even up the score at 1-1. After that point in the second period, the wheels fell off for the Red Wings. The Red Wings took some costly penalties and the Blackhawks made them pay. They were able to strike for their first powerplay goal less than four minutes after the Red Wings tied the game when Andrew Shaw tipped the puck past Howard for his second goal of the playoffs. The Blackhawks were not finished however as they were able to strike on the powerplay once again less than three minutes later on Jonathan Toews first goal in his last ten playoff games. The two quick goals seemed to take away any fight the Red Wings had remaining in game five.
The third period was not kind to the Red Wings but not in terms of opponents goals. Despite Chicago getting one more goal from Andrew Shaw, his second of the game, the real story was the Red Wings lack of offense. The Red Wings only managed FOUR shots on net in the third period to the Blackhawks 17. That lopsided number in the third only added to a lopsided game total as the Red Wings were out shot in game five by a total of 45-26. It is hard for teams to win when they give up 45 shots on net, no matter how well the goaltender plays. The Red Wings will need to get in front of shots tonight to limit the opportunities the Blackhawks can get off of rebounds. They will also need to get more than 26 total shots on net so they can get as much pressure on Crawford as possible and get him out of his groove early tonight.
The Red Wings will turn to Jimmy Howard once again in net. Despite giving up four goals, Howard was able to stop 41 of 45 shots which should not go unnoticed. Look for Howard to have a strong bounce back game as he has played extremely well at home this post season, especially the two games at home this series. In the two home games this series, Howard has only given up one goal and will look to keep the strong play going.
After a two games of giving up four goals per game, Corey Crawford has been able to limit the Red Wings to four goals total in the past three games to get the Blackhawks back into this series. The Red Wings will need to fire more shots at Crawford to get more rebounds and scoring chances and a quick goal would be the best possible thing to get the crowd in Crawford’s head and off his game.
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