Marian Hossa's goal 'absolutely killed' Red Wings

Marian Hossa's goal 'absolutely killed' Red Wings
March 16, 2014, 10:30 pm
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Nina Falcone

The Blackhawks and Red Wings were just moments away from finishing the second period of Sunday's game tied at 1, but with just 13.7 seconds remaining, the goal horn sounded and "Chelsea Dagger" rang throughout the United Center.

Ben Smith found the back of the net to give the Blackhawks an edge in scoring and momentum just before the second intermission, and the Red Wings found themselves in an all-too-familiar situation.

"It's paying attention to detail. The (goal) in the second period late there with 13 seconds left, that shouldn't happen," goaltender Jimmy Howard said following the Red Wings' 4-1 loss. "It just comes down to the details of the game. The final minute in the periods, that stuff can't happen."

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Smith's shot ended the period on a sour note for Detroit, but it wasn't until the next goal that the Wings' confidence took a hit.

Just more than six minutes into the final period, Marian Hossa — who returned to the Blackhawks' lineup for the first time since suffering an upper-body injury during the Stadium Series game earlier in the month — got a breakaway of his own after Detroit's defense got caught up near center ice, and just like that, the Blackhawks gained a two-goal lead.

"It's another bad break," Howard said of the goal. "Both had defensemen hit each other and they fall down and Hossa's off to the races. He came in and I was trying to read him. He was coming with so much speed, I thought he was going to try to drag me across, he's got that quick shot."

Coach Mike Babcock said Hossa's goal was a game-changer.

"The third goal absolutely killed us," he said. "Two defensemen ran into each other in the neutral zone, and that's the end of the night. We still thought on the power play there, we were going to pull our goalie on the second half of it. And we turned it over and they scored."

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It was another tough break for the Red Wings, who have found themselves fighting desperately to see the postseason as injuries have continued to mount. Only Pittsburgh has seen its players miss more combined games (397) than Detroit (303).

With Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and a number of others sidelined as the final weeks of the regular season play out, the Red Wings are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in 23 seasons.

But after Sunday's game, the Red Wings weren't interested in focusing on their banged-up roster. They have a job to do as the remainder of the campaign plays out, and they're ready to put their frustrations aside and get to work.

"We just have to bear down. I don't know what else to do other than that, we just have to find a way to bear down in those situations," Niklas Kronwall said. "We have to be better as a team."