|DET Leads Series 2 - 1|
DETROIT -- A furious six-minute stretch and a world-class shot. Put those two things together and you have the recipe for a Detroit Red Wings victory.
The Red Wings received highlight-reel goals from rookie Gustav Nyquist and veteran Pavel Datsyuk, some valiant hard work from Drew Miller and 39 saves from Jimmy Howard in a 3-1 triumph in Game 3 on Monday night at Joe Louis Arena -- and suddenly the seventh-seeded club from Detroit has seized control of this Western Conference Semifinal series against the Presidents' Trophy-winning Chicago Blackhawks.
It was only the ninth regulation loss in 56 games this season for the Blackhawks -- and only the third time they have dropped two straight in regulation. Game 4 is Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS2).
"I thought we had close games with them all year, they just came out on top," said Detroit forward Patrick Eaves, who assisted on the game-winning goal. "I feel like we can play with these guys. We know they're a great team and we have to respect that, respect their skill. But we've been getting better. As long as we keep getting better on a nightly basis I think that's all we can worry about."
Nyquist opened the scoring at 7:49 of the second period. After a faceoff in the Red Wings' end, Damien Brunner chipped the puck over Chicago defenseman Nick Leddy and Nyquist tracked it down near the Blackhawks' blue line. He cut to the middle of the ice and past defenseman Brent Seabrook before waiting out goalie Corey Crawford for one of the best goals of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs to this point.
It was Nyquist's second goal of the postseason -- his first was an overtime winner in the opening round against the Anaheim Ducks. Brunner has four goals and eight points, second on the team in scoring to captain Henrik Zetterberg.
"Aw, that is a great goal," said Joakim Andersson, the third member of Detroit's "Kid Line." "Brunner just made sure that he gets the puck out. With Nyquist's speed, I've seen that a lot in the American [Hockey] League. He can make his guy [miss], and the goalie -- I think the goalie was a little surprised that was so fast coming in there."
Said Seabrook: "[Nyquist] made a good play. I thought the puck was bouncing. I thought he'd stay on the wall and I could ride him out, but he made a nice deke and a nice play."
Miller made it 2-0 just 31 seconds later. Chicago defenseman Michal Rozsival's outlet pass was picked off by Cory Emmerton. He fed Eaves, who put two shots on Crawford, and the second trickled behind him. Blackhawks defenseman Jonny Oduya reached for the puck to try and keep it off the goal line, but Miller dove headfirst toward the net and was able to push it over the goal line for his first goal of the playoffs.
Chicago had a power play early in the second period and ended up hemming Detroit in its own zone for more than a minute after the advantage expired. The Blackhawks dominated territorially for the opening six minutes of the period, but it didn't lead to many shots on net.
"We've still got to find a way to get [to the net]," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "We've got to be willing to find a way to get to the net. You find a way through there, you get rewarded. It's not easy to penetrate, but you've got to be willing and you've got to be committed to doing that. You've got to find a way."
Shortly after that spell, the Red Wings took control of the contest with a stunning six-minute display of their own. After not having any shots on goal in the first 6:33 of the period, Detroit had 13 in the next 5:23 and grabbed its two-goal lead.
Chicago dominated the start of the third period as well, and the Blackhawks thought they had tied the contest with two quick goals.
Patrick Kane scored on a breakaway at 4:35 to cut the lead in half. He was able to control a long, bouncing pass from defenseman Duncan Keith and snap a shot through Howard's pads for his second of the series. Detroit's Johan Franzen was still down on the ice at the other end at the time of the goal. It may have been a boarding infraction on Chicago's Niklas Hjalmarsson that wasn't called -- but fans at The Joe were also upset because early in the game the officials stopped play when the puck was in the Blackhawks end of the ice because Viktor Stalberg was injured behind the Red Wings' net.
The Blackhawks thought they had tied the game 67 seconds later, but referee Brad Watson immediately waived off what would have been a Stalberg goal because Andrew Shaw was in the crease, even though Shaw did not appear to make significant contact with Howard.
"[It is] one of those things I think maybe they can call it but most of the time, they're going to let that one go, especially when you get pushed in there and he doesn't even touch the goalie," Stalberg said. "If he trips the goalie or makes contact or anything, I think that's an easier call. But that's a tough one, no doubt about it, especially [one] that would tie the game up, then they're coming right back and scoring on us. It's obviously a big shift."
Of the call, Crawford said, "I think that's the first time that I've seen 'in the crease' called since about 2000."
Just as the Blackhawks were in the process of making a big push, Datsyuk electrified the crowd with an incredible shot to make it 3-1. As he did in Game 6 against the Ducks, Datsyuk had the puck on the left wing and ripped a shot under the crossbar that hit inside of the net and bounced back out in a hurry.
"What an unbelievable shot," Andersson said. "You don't even see that it goes in."
These two teams split the first two games of the series at United Center as they took turns controlling the play and eventually forcing the other to submit.
Chicago dominated the second and start of the third periods in Game 1 before finally breaking through with three goals in the final 12 minutes to secure a 4-1 victory. Detroit trailed 1-0 after the first period in Game 2, but four unanswered goals earned the Red Wings a win against the rival Blackhawks for the first time in nine tries including regular-season contests.
For the first time in what has been a magical season, Chicago finds itself in a hole going into Game 4.
"It takes something like this to slap you in the face, so to speak, to really understand what adversity is and how tough the playoffs can be," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "A lot of guys in this room have been in tough positions before in the playoffs, and that's never stopped us. We know this is a long series and we're going to be fighting until the end."
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