The Detroit Red Wings caught fire in the second period on Monday night, going on to a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals.
There were plenty of exciting moments in the first 20 minutes of the game at Joe Louis Arena. The two teams combined for 24 shots (Chicago 15, Detroit 9) and 28 hits (Chicago 11, Detroit 17). And there were five penalties in the first period, resulting in three power plays.
After the Red Wings' Joakim Andersson was given two minutes for roughing Andrew Shaw, the Blackhawks got off three shots on goal. But they were all saved by Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard.
There were also three penalties at the 13:03 mark. Shaw was whistled for roughing, while Chicago's Bryan Bickell and Detroit's Kyle Quincey were both given two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct. It resulted in a Red Wings power play.
During the power play, the Red Wings got three shots off on goal, but only one of them was inside 15 feet.
ESPN Chicago tweeted:
ESPN Chicago @ESPNChiHawks
Red Wings certainly had their chances, but another kill for the Blackhawks2013-5-21 00:10:43
Detroit's Justin Abdelkader was whistled for holding the stick at the 16:12 mark. The Blackhawks got off three shots on goal on the ensuing power play, but all shots were longer than 40 feet.
Pat Caputo of The Oakland Press in Michigan tweeted during the first 20 minutes:
Pat Caputo @patcaputo98
Blackhawks have more overall speed than Red Wings. One exception is Gustav Nyquist. Kid does have some wheels. Penalty kill time #RedWings2013-5-21 00:02:20
OHL broadcaster Bryan Thiel added:
Bryan Thiel @BryanThiel_88
The playoffs are way more entertaining when division rivals meet up. I could watch this for a whole month #redwings #blackhawks2013-5-21 00:13:18
Less than a minute into the second period, the Blackhawks got another power play. This time, it was the Red Wings' Brendan Smith who was given two minutes for holding Patrick Sharp.
But the Blackhawks weren't even able to get off a shot on goal during the power play, as all three of their shots were blocked by the Red Wings.
The inability to take advantage of the power plays came back to haunt the Blackhawks at the 7:49 mark. Gustav Nyquist flew through the defense on a break and slammed home a wrist shot from roughly 13 feet out.
Less than a minute later, it was Drew Miller who scored on a deflection, assisted by Patrick Eaves and Cory Emmerton.
All of a sudden, the Red Wings led, 2-0.
Chris Boden @CSNBoden
If #RedWings were playing w/ nothing-to-lose before - they certainly are now after surviving #Blackhawks pressure to start 2nd w/ 2-0 lead2013-5-21 00:56:22
Brendan Smith was hit with another penalty for interference with 17:39 remaining in the period. But the Blackhawks once again squandered an opportunity on the power play. The only two shots on goal came from farther than 55 feet away.
Through two periods, Detroit had opened up a big advantage.
Brian Hedger of NHL.com highlighted Chicago's apparent inability to score on the power play:
Brian Hedger @BrianHedger
Remember when these playoffs started and we asked #Blackhawks if they could win the Cup with a bad PP? This series putting that to the test.2013-5-21 01:14:23
Andrew Shaw was hit with a penalty for slashing Howard at the 1:53 mark in the third period. However, this time it was the Red Wings who were unable to convert, seeing three of their shots blocked during the power play.
At the 4:15 mark, Patrick Sharp broke away from the Detroit defense and had a shot against Howard, but Howard made a nice glove save.
About 20 seconds later, the Blackhawks struck on Patrick Kane's wrist shot from 12 feet out. They were within one goal, determined not to go down without a fight.
But it was Detroit that bounced back immediately.
With the Blackhawks threatening, Pavel Datsyuk made an incredible shot from 34 feet out, assisted by Brendan Smith and Johan Franzen, at the 6:46 mark.
Hey, Hey HOCKEYTOWN! Pavel Datsyuk with a #SCtop10 top-shelf LASER to give the Red Wings a 3-1 lead.2013-5-21 01:52:36
And with about 13 minutes to play, it was 3-1 Red Wings.
Michal Handzus was given two minutes for holding Abdelkader with 8:58 remaining, handing the Red Wings a power play.
But Detroit wasn't able to capitalize.
Duncan Keith was whistled for roughing at the 14:09 mark, giving the Red Wings another power play. And—once again—the Red Wings came up empty.
But at this point, the Red Wings only needed to keep the Chicago offense at bay. And they did just that, cruising to a confidence-building victory in Detroit.
The Blackhawks finished 0-for-4 on power plays for the game. Howard was outstanding throughout, saving all but one of Chicago's 40 shot attempts.
The Red Wings now lead the series, 2-1.