The toughest-fought game of the Blackhawks’ season so far eventually turned into the toughest loss of the year as the Hawks lost a two-goal lead in the third period and eventually lost to Detroit 6-5 in a shootout.
"We gave up a couple of tough goals” said Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville. “I think we did a lot of good things in the game [but] they make plays not too many players in the league make. Certainly, we’ll find a way to get better.”
The loss was a battle the whole way, featuring four lead changes and four ties. Kris Versteeg and Aaron Johnson answered a Johan Franzen goal to put the Hawks up 2-1 in the second period.
After a Marian Hossa goal to tie the score at two, goals by Martin Havlat and Ben Eager put the Blackhawks up 4-2 heading into the third period. But Detroit scored three unanswered goals to take the lead back in the third, and a Patrick Kane 5-on-3 power play goal sent the game into overtime.
“[Detroit] played last night so I don’t think fatigue was part of it,” said Quenneville of the third-period letdown. “They don’t need much to create with their skills. When you’re ahead against that team they’re pressing and they’re coming, they don’t need much of an opportunity.”
“They took it to us in the third period,” said Kane. “They got a couple of chances there. We’re ahead 4-2 and the next thing you know we’re down 5-4.”
Jonathan Toews scored a goal in the shootout for Chicago, but goals by Pavel Datsyuk and Hossa proved to be enough for the Detroit win.
This marks the Hawks’ third shootout loss of the season.
“I know everybody who came over the boards for that team is dangerous on breakaways,” said Quenneville, “but I like our personnel. Khabby gave us a chance. The personnel we have going should give us some production.”
Despite the loss, the Hawks saw the game as a measuring stick: they may have only gotten one point on the night, but they hung with the defending Stanley Cup Champions for sixty-five minutes.
“It’s a good measuring stick for us,” said Quenneville. “It was a good effort. They may have improved from being a Cup champion over the summer [and] we were right there with them.”
“You see how much skill the Red Wings have,” said Kane. “I thought we battled pretty hard tonight. They’re a great team.”
The Blackhawks return to action on Monday night at Minnesota.