The Detroit Red Wings knew they had a tall order ahead of them in stopping the red-hot Chicago Blackhawks and through two periods of hockey things actually looked like they’d be easier than anticipated. Then the Blackhawks decided to start scoring goals and the veil was lifted from Detroit’s eyes revealing the horror of a series ahead of them.
Give Detroit credit before you hand the series to the best team in hockey, as the 7-seeded Red Wings who weren’t supposed to get past the Anaheim Ducks in the first round of the playoffs took it to the Hawks for two periods of hockey. Detroit netminder Justin Howard said before the series started that he had a tall task in front of him, but he held his own for the first 40 minutes of the game.
Then the third period occurred and the bottom fell out on Detroit.
It was looking like things would be a slugfest early as Marian Hossa’s goal in the first period was answered rather quickly by Damien Brunner’s third goal of the postseason — and then the guns fell silent. Until the 8:02 mark of the third period, both net minders didn’t allow a single goal despite plenty of chances on both ends of the ice.
Johnny Oduya put an end to the scoring silence in the third and his goal was backed by a Marcus Kruger score and a Patrick Sharp empty netter which brought us to the eventual 4-1 final score in Game 1. But while the Red Wings are down in the series to start things, they might not yet be out and you should be mindful to not just yet crown the Blackhawks the winners of this series.
However, that may be wishful thinking, as the Minnesota Wild went blow-for-blow with Chicago in Game 1 of their series and only managed to win one game the entire stretch. Detroit appears to be a better team than Minnesota but the results may ultimately end up being the same just on the basis that the Blackhawks seem to be unstoppable.
They either start fast or rally viciously to win games, and only once this postseason has that plan failed. Chicago is the best team in hockey and they own the best playoff record to date this season, sitting 5-1 through six games so far.
It will be a long series in that things will either get so out of control that it gets boring or the Red Wings will make the Hawks earn everything and take them deep into games like they did in Game 1. But still, Chicago came out on top in Game 1 and while it may not be the Red Wings’ best punch, Chicago seems like they’re ready for anything and Detroit just doesn’t have enough to hold them down or keep up.