The Detroit Red Wings take a stranglehold on the Semi-final series with the Chicago Blackhawks, blanking them in Game 4 at home by a score of 2-0, and taking a 3-1 series lead.
The Red Wings came into this game knowing that this would be a pivotal moment in the Semi-final series. Unfortunately they didn’t come out playing as such. A lot of time in the first period was spent in their own zone, trying to clear the puck and blocking shots. And when they did get their stick on the puck, they seemed to turn it over more than clearing it. They ended up with 8 turnovers in their own zone in the period; not good for a team facing the top club in the regular season. Through it all, though, the first period was scoreless for both sides, thanks to the spectacular play by Jimmy Howard. Shots in the period ended 14-10 in favor of Chicago.
The second period was a huge momentum swing for the Red Wings. While the opening moments of the period were still played largely in their own zone, a flurry of penalties to the Blackhawk’s captain Jonathan Toews would give the Red Wings many opportunities for offense, and they’d finally capitalize on one. At 10:03, Jakub Kindl took a pass at the top of the faceoff circle from Carlo Colaiacovo, and let loose a shot towards Corey Crawford. It found its way through traffic, bounced off the inside of the near post and into the goal, giving the Red Wings a 1-0 lead, and finally snapping the Blackhawk’s post-season penalty kill streak. The secondary assist went to Johan Franzen. After some chippy play in their own end, the period would end with the shots tied 22-22.
The third period was a display of defensive play and pressure in both zones by both teams. Nearing the end of the period, Chicago pulled their goalie to trying and get on the board. At 19:22, Daniel Cleary took possession of the puck in the neutral zone, brought it into the offensive zone, and let off a shot at the open goal to bury to dagger-goal, making the final score 2-0.
Even with as much as the Blackhawks pushed, the Wings kept pushing back. The penalty kill was superb once again, and shot blocking played a crucial part in the game. This is the type of play we need, all the time. No exceptions.
Next game is Saturday night in Chicago. See you then, Nation!