By Sidney Brown, WARR contributor
With two full days to rest in between Games 1 and 2 instead of the usual single day, it may have made all of the difference in the world for the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit managed the first shutting down of the high powered Blackhawks offense in the 2013 playoffs, grabbing a 4-1 win Saturday afternoon and tying the best of seven semifinal series at 1-1.
Hawks winger Patrick Kane scored his first goal of the playoffs midway through the first period (14:05), breaking the goal skid for he and fellow Chicago star Johnathan Toews but the Red Wings took control of the game there after.
As the second period began, the Red Wings opened up their scoring with goals from rookie Damien Brunner (2:40) and Brendan Smith (16:08), afterwards they continued to control the pace of the game for the remaining 40 minutes and aggressively defended the Hawks, forcing turnovers, which led to numerous scoring chances.
After posting just 21 shots on goal in Game 1, the Red Wings increased that mark by ten (30) in Game 2 and out-shot the Hawks by that same margin. The Detroit defense made its best stand midway through the second period, not allowing a shot on goal from the Hawks for the latter half of the period.
In the third, Detroit finished up its offensive outburst with goals from Johan Franzen (7:19) and Valtteri Flippula (12:03) as it finished up the process of snatching home ice advantage away from the Blackhawks. Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard was outstanding, stopping 19 of 20 shots, finishing with a .950 save percentage while on the other side Corey Crawford stood strong in stopping 26 while trying his best to keep the game from getting too out of hand. Sometimes you have to give the other team credit for outplaying you and Detroit did that to the Hawks Saturday.
Game 3 has suddenly turned into a potential gut-check situation for the Hawks, with the next winner in the series getting the upper hand in what’s now a best four out of five, the next clash is set for Monday night in Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena at 6:30 pm central.
First, the Blackhawks special teams, who’s penalty kill held the Red Wings off the scoreboard in their man advantage (0-4).
Second, Hawks winger Patrick Sharp, who added his fourth assist to remain a top four leader in playoff scoring.
Third, to Kane, recently named one of three finalist for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (Player Who Best Displays Gentlemanly Conduct) and Hawks head coach Joel Quenneville was named one of three finalists for the Jack Adams Award for Coach of the Year. The last time a Hawks player won the Byng Memorial Trophy was in legend Stan Mikita’s back-to-back run (1966-67, 1967-68) and the last Hawks head coach to win the Adams award was Orval Tessier in 1983 (47-23-10 record, 104 points).
My Game Puck for Game 2 goes to Detroit Red Wings sniper Henrik Zetterbeg for tallying two assists, helping to jump start the Red Wings offense.
First, to the Hawks’ power play for going cold once again Saturday (0-2).
Second, deservedly last, but certainly not least, to NBC Sports for its opening minutes of Game 2 coverage.
After rink-side analyst Pierre McGuire interviewed Hawks defenseman Nick Leddy prior to the puck drop, the Peacocks at NBC decided to cut away to commercial break instead of showing the National Anthem. The anthem at a Hawks game is tradition and a national playoff audience should experience one of the great renditions of the song. For NBC to do this cutaway just to squeeze in another 30 seconds of deodorant commercials and plugs for its lame summer programming, there’s no excuse for it and to whoever made the decision, you’re just flat out DUMB! PERIOD!
Sidney Brown is a veteran in sports radio, having worked for Sporting News Radio for several years. Sidney has followed hockey since 1993, the year after the Blackhawks lost the Stanley Cup Finals to the Pittsburgh Penguins. A huge Hawks fan, Sidney went to his first game in April of 1999. He proudly owns 14 Hawks jerseys. Follow Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1.