What a huge win by the Red Wings over long time rival Chicago. It wasn't just getting the 2 points that was important, but the way the Red Wings bounced back after the first period with 5 goals in the second and then holding off a Blackhawks attack that was firing on all cylinders in the third period.
Neither goalie played particularly well today but then again both offenses were ready to rock from the beginning. Duncan Keith started the scoring for the Blackhawks with a blast from the point following a juicy rebound from Jimmy Howard. Keith's shot hit off Brian Rafalski and then went in for a 1-0 Chicago lead at 4:24. Andrew Ladd added his first of three goals midway through the third after a poor pass from Valtteri Filppula landed right on the stick of Ladd; top corner, 2-0.
Brian Rafalski scored on the power play with a rocket shot from the point that beat Cristobal Huet. Nicklas Lidstrom shot another puck from the point with Todd Bertuzzi (more on him later) that beat Huet only 38 seconds later. Jason Williams scored a tap-in goal off of a beautiful pass from Henrik Zetterberg at 9:45. Less than a minute later Valtteri Filppula made amends for his poor pass in the first period by taking a breakout pass and beating Huet for a very quick 4-2 Detroit lead.
Filppula's goal ended Huet's game and Chicago replaced him with Antti Niemi. Huet allowed 4 goals on 17 shots before being pulled by Joel Quenneville. Pavel Datsyuk picked Patrick Kane's pocket late in the third period and scored a great breakaway goal on Niemi with 3 seconds left.
Andrew Ladd added two more goals in the third period for a hat trick. The Chicago attack was buzzing towards the end of the third and almost tied it up several times. The Wings held on late and got a little bit lucky on a few chances.
Shocking stat of the game:
The top for defensemen (Lidstrom, Rafalski, Kronwall, Stuart) all played 23+ minutes.
Player of the game: Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk has been on fire since the Olympics and it continued today. Datsyuk had 4 takeaways, 3 hits, won 53% of his face-offs and oh yeah, has the game winning goal.
#13 / Center / Detroit Red Wings
Jul 20, 1978