DETROIT – There was no sense of panic in the Chicago Blackhawks’ locker room during the second intermission on Monday night.
Down 2-1 to the Detroit Red Wings in their second elimination game, the Blackhawks kept their cool. They gave a few intermission speeches. Their goaltender shook off a bad second-period goal. And then they came out determined to force a Game 7.
And they did.
Michael Frolik’s third-period penalty shot proved to be the game-winner, and Corey Crawford bounced back from a bad goal allowed to stop 35 shots as the Blackhawks beat the Red Wings 4-3 at Joe Louis Arena on Memorial Day evening. The Blackhawks return home to Chicago for Game 7, which will be Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Central time.
The Blackhawks were truly on the ropes heading into the third period, the final 20 minutes between them and their season ending. Coach Joel Quenneville couldn’t have asked for a better response.
“It was important we call kept our focus from the goalie on out. The guys were staying with it,” he said. “We didn’t change too much. Commend them on doing what they did tonight. We got a lot of traffic and got big shots at the end of the night.”
But it wasn’t looking like that at the end of the second period. Joakim Andersson scored on a knuckler that fluttered past Crawford’s glove to give the Wings a 2-1 advantage midway through the period. The Wings kept the momentum throughout that period, and were looking strong heading into second intermission.
Crawford said he just let that one go.
“It happened. I just got past it; Moved on,” Crawford said. “After that goal, I just settled down and moved on from there.”
Jonathan Toews said Crawford shook it off well.
“He’s been behind us every step of the way, and games we probably shouldn’t have won we did because of him,” he said. “Sometimes tricky shots go in like that. We didn’t let it phase us as a team. We knew we didn’t have to say anything to him. He was going to come back like he had all postseason.”
The Blackhawks’ lack of panic was apparently team wide. During that intermission, they talked. Bryan Bickell, who scored his fifth goal of this postseason, said several veteran players made intermission speeches, including defenseman Duncan Keith.
“A lot of guys (talked). Veteran guys who have been in this situation before stepped up and said so,” Bickell said. “I was just listening and taking it in.”
And soon after, the Blackhawks were responding. Michal Handzus scored just 51 seconds into the third period and Bickell added his about five minutes later.
[WATCH: Toews to Pierre: We're not giving up]
Then it was Frolik’s turn. The winger was awarded a penalty shot when he broke away and Detroit’s Carlo Colaiacovo slashed him. Frolik scored his second penalty shot of his postseason career, lifting it past Jimmy Howard to give the Blackhawks a 4-2 lead at the time.
“In the Czech league during the lockout, I was successful in the shootouts,” Frolik said. “That was one of my moves and I’m glad it worked out.”
The Blackhawks have evened this series, something that didn’t look likely when they went down 3-1 after Game 4. They’ve kept their composure, they’ve talked it out and they’ve remained focused.
But their work isn’t done.
“Well, you can talk but you have to do it on the ice. That’s what this team did. It’s a lot of character. But Game 6 is over now,” Handzus said. “It’s a good feeling right now but enjoy it tonight and get rid of it and get ready for a big Game 7.”