Blackhawks vs. Red Wings: How Chicago Seized Momentum in 2nd-Round Series

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2013

Bryan Bickell scored the go-ahead goal for the Blackhawks in the third period.
Bryan Bickell scored the go-ahead goal for the Blackhawks in the third period.Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Nobody thought the run through the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs would be easy for the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Detroit Red Wings proved just that in the second round.

After disposing of the Minnesota Wild 4-1 in the first round, Chicago found itself facing a 3-1 series deficit against Detroit. But the Blackhawks found their edge and goal-scoring touch to win two consecutive games and tie the series.

They needed a dramatic third period to survive the sixth game in Detroit to come out with a 4-3 win.

Trailing 2-1 after two periods, the Blackhawks stepped up. Michal Handzus found himself alone in front of the net in the first minute after Niklas Hjalmarsson got him the puck. Handzus simply outplayed Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard and wristed the puck just inside the far post.

Handzus was able to take advantage of a golden opportunity:

Handzus on having all day to shoot: "I knew I had more time than we are used to in the whole series. So I tried to take advantage of it."

— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) May 28, 2013

The Blackhawks could breathe again.

Shortly after tying things up, Bryan Bickell went to the front of the net. Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa outmanned Detroit on the boards, and Toews came away with the puck. He put it out in front, and Bickell kept his feet, got the right bounce and whacked the puck into the net.

Toews and Co. were high on confidence at the right time:

Jonathan Toews on #Blackhawks' mindset entering third period: "It was just pure confidence." #RedWings

— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) May 28, 2013

Chicago sealed the deal when Michael Frolik converted a penalty shot to give the team a two-goal lead.

Jonathan Toews and head coach Joel Quenneville would not let the passion the Blackhawks played with in Game 5 dissipate in Game 6. They came out hard, scored the opening goal and seemed to be getting the best of the Red Wings in the first 10 minutes.

However, after Mike Babcock yelled at his players to wake up and start playing harder, they responded. The Red Wings got the tying goal in the first and took the lead in the second, ultimately falling due to a three-goal third period for Chicago.

If we look at history, the Blackhawks appear to be in a good spot for Game 7 at home:

Make that Blackhawks haven't lost a Game 7 on home ice since '71 in the Stanley Cup Final to Montreal. Silly twitter. #NHL #CHIvsDET

— Brian Hedger (@BrianHedger) May 28, 2013

In this series, the Blackhawks have learned that going to the front of the net and taking the hit is required to come out on top. That's what it will take to win Game 7.