Photo by Jim Prisching/Getty Images
The Detroit Red Wings established a commanding 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference Finals with an impressive 6-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday afternoon. With the captain Nicklas Lidstrom, star forward Pavel Datsyuk, and faceoff expert Kris Draper out of the lineup in Game 4, Detroit’s other big name players stepped up and got the job done.
Stars step up big in Game 4
Lidstrom had played in all 228 possible playoff games in his career so Game 4 marked his first playoff absence. Before the start of the game, the news of his scratch surprised fans and the media alike. How would the team handle Chicago in front of its home crowd and after a big overtime win without its captain?
Enter Marian Hossa and Henrik Zetterberg.
Hossa had two key goals in the contest, including a shorthanded marker to open the scoring at 8:41 in the first period and then another tally 12 seconds after Chicago’s Jonathan Toews scored to return the momentum to Detroit. He added an assist and three hits in the game. Hossa has six goals this postseason. Interestingly enough, Hossa has scored twice in three games — all Game 4s in the respective series.
Zetterberg scored twice in the effort. Valtteri Filppula finished the game with a goal and two assists. Brian Rafalski registered three helpers. Johan Franzen posted an unassisted goal with just over 20 seconds remaining in the first period to give Detroit a 2-0 lead.
Overall the Wings went 3-for-8 on the power play, taking advantage of Chicago’s errors. Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc put it succinctly when he used the following quote:
“Kronwall, in my opinion, had a real nice finished check on Havlat in the game before [and] they were busy making amends for that,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “In the end, we ended up on the power play lots, which is beneficial for us.”
The Blackhawks appeared to lose composure in the outing and the Wings made sure to capitalize on it according to Detroit News columnist Bob Wojnowski. Basically, the Wings handled adversity like a champion.
In Other News
According to ESPN.com, the NHL is reconsidering its stance on having Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals on June 5th and 6th. The website reports that if both conference finals go 4-5 games, the NHL may kick off the SCF on May 30th and 31st.
After Game 3, all anyone could seemingly talk about was Niklas Kronwall’s big hit on Chicago forward Martin Havlat. Hockeytown Blog rounded up commentary on the hit in a recent post and NHL.com’s Brian Compton also addressed the hit and consequent penalty.
In Game 3, the NHL officials credited Brian Rafalski with a goal. Upon further review, the NHL ruled that forward Dan Cleary tipped the puck in and was credited with the goal.