Blackhawks' turn to respond after Game 2 loss
CHICAGO -- The Detroit Red Wings needed a performance like the one they put on the ice Saturday at United Center.
After talking about their tired legs following a series-opening loss to the rival Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Wednesday, the Red Wings needed to come out skating fast, hitting hard and putting on offensive pressure in waves.
That's exactly what they did. The Red Wings evened the best-of-7 series 1-1 with a 4-1 win, seized home-ice advantage for the remaining five games, and gave the Blackhawks their first loss on home ice in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Now it's up to the Blackhawks to respond.
"They have the momentum right now, so we've got to get it back somehow," Chicago forward Patrick Kane said. "That starts with maybe letting this one slip behind us and getting ready for the next one. That's what we'll try to do and try to have a good start to Game 3."
That would be Monday in Detroit (7:30 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
Kane's first goal of this postseason, at 14:05 of the first period -- his second in 20 playoff games since scoring the Stanley Cup-clinching goal in overtime of Game 6 of the 2010 Final -- but Detroit's relentless push washed away that 1-0 lead in impressive fashion.
The Red Wings scored twice in each of the final two periods and snapped an eight-game losing streak against Chicago, including regular-season meetings from the past two seasons. They sent a message Saturday, responding in kind to what the Blackhawks did in Game 1, and backed up their vow to be much better than they were Wednesday.
This time, it was Chicago's turn to talk tough about the next game.
"I wouldn't say it's a wake-up call," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "I think we know exactly what we need to improve on and do it right away. There's no time to waste in the series and we know going into their building it's going to be even more difficult than it was today. So, turn the page and make sure we're better in Game 3."
The bar wasn't set too high by their Game 2 showing.
The Blackhawks were outshot 30-20, gave the puck away seven times and -- like the Red Wings in Game 1 -- struggled to get out of their zone and through the neutral zone on the attack. After the first 10 minutes, which was Chicago's best sequence, Detroit's suffocating defense made it tough to get any offensive flow going.
Toews, in particular, was hounded by Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg, who picked up the physicality on his counterpart captain from the Blackhawks. Not long before Zetterberg found Brendan Smith with a pretty feed for Detroit's second goal late in the second period, Zetterberg knocked down Toews from behind in front of the Red Wings' net -- clipping the back of his helmet with his stick -- then gave him another shot to the back to prevent him from getting up.
No penalty was called, and Toews said he wasn't happy with the lack of penalties in response to Detroit's increased physicality. However, he also seemed to realize it's up to Chicago to fight through it.
"They were just better prepared to play," Toews said. "They were tougher on the puck and there was a lot of hooking and holding. You couldn't really go out there and skate with the puck. We've just got to be scrappier. We've got to find a way to get through that stuff and find our way to the net. We weren't really battling for position out there."
That started to happen a little more in the third period, but by then it was too late. The Red Wings already had inflicted too much damage, and all that remained was breaking down what went wrong before Game 3.
"They controlled the puck a lot and we didn't," Kane said. "They kind of used our own game against us, playing puck possession, keeping it in [our end], and we were chasing it all game."
The Blackhawks will practice at United Center on Sunday then fly to Detroit, intent on taking back both home-ice advantage and momentum. They also are preparing for the series to be long and difficult, if that's what it takes to advance.
"It's one game," Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "I mean, we're not happy. We're [ticked] off about [Game 2], but at the end of the day it's one game and both teams would be stupid if they thought they were going to come in here and either team was going to win four straight. It's a series we knew was going to be a battle."
Author: Brian Hedger | NHL.com Correspondent