The Red Wings played one hell of a game against the league's best team, but fell short as late mistakes turned a one-goal lead into a tie and then a skills competition made the ultimate difference.
Only six penalties were called in this game and two were automatic. The refs certainly let them play. I'm not going to complain about the reffing standard for this one. Soft calls balanced out and non-calls turned out pretty consistent. Detroit gave up one goal on four power plays to the Hawks and didn't score at all on either of their two, although they did look dangerous.
Jimmy Howard had an oustanding game to match the outstanding performance by Corey Crawford at the other end. Head-to-head on this one is going to be even. The advantage one way or another is a small-potatoes argument. Without great goaltending from both sides, this might have turned into that 7-6 PIT/MTL game from Saturday. For an overall rating, I'm going to give Howard a +2. 32 of 33 saves and many of the very large variety. The Hawks' snipers got a lot of chances from very good scoring areas and he shut them down when his defense needed him.
3rd Period 02:43 - Detroit Goal: Tomas Tatar (wrist shot) from Joakim Andersson and Patrick Eaves
An aggressive forecheck by the Wings turns the puck over behind the Blackhawks net. A great feed out front finds Tomas Tatar for the first of the game. Patrick Eaves is going to earn a plus for bodying off Nick Leddy so cleanly to allow Andersson to have a great passing lane. Kronwall will get the third assist for the outlet which Eaves tips into the zone to retrieve.
3rd Period 17:58 - Chicago Goal (PP): Patrick Kane (wrist shot) from Viktor Stalberg
Kane picks up a loose puck off a blocked shot and a failed clear in front and snaps it over Howard's glove to tie it late. The failed clear is Quincey's and will earn him a minus for a turnover. The failure isn't Quincey's alone. Brian Lashoff is fronting Stalberg when Quincey blocks it. While Q is looking for it in his feet, Lashoff lets Stalberg skate completely around him to sweep it over to Kane waiting on the doorstep. Lashoff either has to pick Stalberg, cancel his stick, poke it out of Quincey's feet, or move to pick up Kane. None of those things happen and Lashoff will earn a minus for it.
Penalty Adjustments (pluses and minuses only)
1st Period 03:15 - Brendan Smith (interference): Even if they had evened up on roughing, it doesn't excuse Smith pushing Sharp into the Wings' net to push it off its posts. Minus for Smith.
1st Period 08:38 - Justin Abdelkader (interference): Abby skates into Toews behind a transition play and gets in his way. This is a soft call, but Abdelkader has to know better. Minus for Abdelkader.
2nd Period 14:27 - Daniel Carcillo (hooking): Datsyuk has a very good shift and draws a bit of a cheap Daniel Carcillo hook. Datsyuk will earn a plus for this.
3rd Period 04:10 - Niklas Hjalmarrson (tripping): Drew Miller will earn a plus for some great forechecking work culminating in a penalty for Chicago's D-man.
3rd Period 17:35 - Jonathan Ericsson (delay of game): In the worst mistake since New Coke, Ericsson gets a minus for chucking it over the glass.
3rd Period 18:37 - Niklas Krownall (delay of game): Solid veteran leadership by Kronwall to take some heat off his defensive partner by taking the same penalty from the same spot. Kronwall will get a plus for such intelligent on-ice coaching. No, not really. Minus for Kronwall.
+1 to Jonathan Ericsson: Sure, he deserves his minus for the delay of game. He also deserves recognition for having a +16 corsi rating in this game and being incredibly solid at net-front and at dealing with forecheckers.
+1 to Brian Lashoff. Lashoff looked more like a solid veteran body than he had in a while. Very impressed with him in this one.
-0.5 to Kyle Quincey: Q had one good outlet pass and some good defensive plays, including one to break up an odd-man rush by the Hawks. Those were the difference between a full minus and a half minus. Quincey was not strong in his own end or at preventing Chicago's transition game from getting going.
+0.5 to Johan Franzen: The "Lazy Franzen" narrative is getting old. Franzen put six shots on net and got absolutely robbed twice. He also put one off the post by Crawford and helped set up his teammates to also get robbed. Plus, he played effectively in his own zone on defensive coverage.
+0.5 to Damien Brunner: I thought Brunner's good outweighed the bad as well. He had a good game at center ice both moving the puck forward to the Hawks' zone and preventing the Hawks from moving cleanly into the Wings' zone.
+0.5 to Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk: Detroit's top two centers both had effective defensive games. Somehow Datsyuk managed to stay on the positive end of the corsi ledger. Z played five minutes longer and did well himself, but wasn't as good in the faceoff circle.
Jakub Kindl had a pretty disappointing first period made up for by a pretty good third period. Three shots on goal and six hits earned him back to even for the three turnovers he had. Dan Cleary was more ok than not and Abdelkader was more not than ok, but not to the extend that it calls for an adjustment. Cory Emmerton was hot-and-cold for making great decisions and mistakes. He was probably the closest to earning a plus out of the group of honorable mentions.