Following their 4-1 loss in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals, the Red Wings said they were disappointed in the fact they "watched the Blackhawks play hockey in the third period," rather than compete against them.
That wasn't the case on Saturday afternoon, as Detroit proved a combination of rest, practice and some line adjustments was the recipe they needed to come out with a win against their longtime rivals.
"We wanted to come out here and play better than we did in Game 1. We knew we could play better and it was nice to see that we can do it," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said following his team's 4-1 win. "We kept playing. We didn't set back anything, we always went for the next goal. It was nice to see when (forward Valtteri Filppula) got the fourth goal, it kind of finished the game."
Having a strong third period was a main focus for the Red Wings and was something they had struggled with throughout much of the season. Detroit came out strong right from the start of Saturday's game, and unlike Game 1, the team continued to maintain a high level of physicality and dominant play throughout the entire duration of the matchup.
"I think we were better throughout the whole game compared to where we were the last game. We were good for 20 last game, but we played well for 60 and it paid off," defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said.
"We don't want to let off, we want to just keep going at them and I think we did a better job of that today than we had in previous third periods and I think that's what helped us win the game. We wanted to go for the extra goal and that's what we have to do to win."
The Red Wings' victory marked the first time Detroit had seen a win against the Blackhawks since the shortened 2013 campaign began. But despite that record, the opposing team hadn't lost their confidence coming into this series against Chicago.
"I don't think confidence was ever an issue for us. We knew we could compete with this team," Detroit defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo said. "Obviously the win-loss record hasn't proved that over the year, but we match up pretty well. We have guys in here who have been there and done that, and it's what we feed off of. Those are our leaders and that's what we focus on. We don't focus on them, we focus on us."
Now both teams will hit the road for Games 3 and 4 of this semifinals series. While the Red Wings were happy to get the win on the road, they believe their competition won't be getting any easier just because of a home-crowd advantage.
"Obviously tonight we were just the better team overall," Colaiacovo continued. "The series is not over. It's only 1-1. (The Blackhawks are) as good of a road team as they are a home team. We're not gonna take that for granted. It's great we're going home with the split, I know the people in Detroit will be raving and ready to go. But at the same time, our focus has to be one game at a time. It was tonight and it's got to continue over to next game."