|1||Wed., May 15||United Center||(W) 4-1|
|2||Sat., May 18||United Center||(L) 4-1|
|3||Mon., May 20||Joe Louis Arena||(L) 3-1|
|4||Thurs., May 23||Joe Louis Arena||L 1-0|
|5||Sat., May 25||United Center||W 4-1|
|6*||Mon., May 27||Joe Louis Arena||TBD|
|7*||Wed., May 29||United Center||TBD|
|* If necessary | All times Central|
DETROIT – The Chicago Blackhawks thought they had the equalizer, thought they tied the game early in the third period.
But the call didn’t go their way.
And a few minutes later, the Detroit Red Wings scored the decisive goal to make sure the final decision wouldn’t go the Blackhawks’ way, either.
Viktor Stalberg had a goal waved off due to Andrew Shaw being in the crease, and the Red Wings’ two goals within 31 seconds of the second period stood up in a 3-1 victory at Joe Louis Arena on Monday night. The Blackhawks now trail 2-1 in the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series, with Game 4 here on Thursday night.
Coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks “played the right way” on Monday, something they certainly didn’t do in Game 2 in Chicago. And that denied goal, the one that would have made it 2-2 at the time, stung.
“I disagreed with the call. He didn’t touch the goalie,” Quenneville said. “It was one of those games, you have to get the momentum back when you can. We did everything we could to get the momentum back and we did, and we hit the wall when they disallowed the goal.”
Jonathan Toews was also surprised at the call.
“I find it hard to believe from what I saw that our player restricted the goaltender from making the save,” he said. “The puck came from the same side... I don't understand that one.”
Stalberg said it could’ve gone either way.
“It seemed like (Shaw) got pushed in by their D-men. It’s one of those calls that, a lot of times, the ref probably won’t make it. Today he did. It’s not wrong to do either way but that’s a tough bounce for us at that time when we were really pushing the pace.”
And not long after, Pavel Datsyuk snuck one in under the crossbar to give the Red Wings a 3-1 lead they wouldn’t lose.
There were a few questionable calls in this one, and the Blackhawks may have benefited off a non-call on the other end. Niklas Hjalmarsson landed a hit on Johan Franzen, who went face-first into the glass behind the Blackhawks net. A few moments later, Patrick Kane scored to make it 2-1. Nothing was called on the play.
“I thought it should’ve been a two-minute penalty. But it’s fast,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “When I go in and watch the replay, I see it. (The referees) don’t get to watch the replay.”
The Blackhawks wanted a better start, better work ethic and better all-around game in Game 3 than they had in Game 2, and they got that. But they still came up empty in a few critical areas. The power play failed to score once again. The Blackhawks also spent the first few second-period minutes in the Red Wings’ zone, first on an advantage and then on 5 on 5. They came away empty. And not long after that, the Blackhawks won a faceoff yet gave up a goal, as Gustav Nyquist made a deft move around Brent Seabrook to put the Wings up 1-0.
“We had a couple good shifts with some mixed-up lines there but we felt like we were pushing them back and close to getting one past (Jimmy Howard). But we couldn’t find a way to pass him in the beginning,” said Stalberg, who played his first game of this series after being benched the previous two games. “Then there’s a face-off win and we just don’t win the puck on it. We have to be ready and get hungry with those loose pucks on faceoffs. It’s going to be a big part of the rest of the series.”
[Quenneville: We tried to do everything to get momentum back]
Jimmy Howard was stellar in stopping 39 of 40 shots for the Wings. Corey Crawford stopped 27 of 30 in his second consecutive loss.
It was a frustrating night, but Duncan Keith said the Blackhawks will bounce back because, well, the alternative isn’t an option.
“We just have to,” he said. “There’s no thinking about it. It’s just a matter of going to work the next game”
The Blackhawks are facing some adversity now, something they faced very little of during this regular season. They got better from Game 2 to Game 3. They’ll need to be even better for Game 4.
“We had more predictability in our game and we didn’t get slowed down,” Quenneville said. “We have to be better than we were today, but we were certainly better today.”