NHL Playoff Game Day 28: Blackhawks-Red Wings


Why Chicago Won: The Blackhawks were at their most effective when crashing Jimmy Howard's crease and putting a lot of traffic around the Red Wings netminder. The result was two goals and more importantly, the first marker of the game. Once things got a little more woolly, the Hawks managed to maintain their cool and broke through in the third period, fighting off the determined Wings to the final buzzer.

Why Detroit Lost: Detroit's youth has performed admirably in this post-season, but it was a tough night for defenseman Brendan Smith. First he blew coverage on the Michal Handzus goal, then he was an afterthought for a marauding Bryan Bickell, who snapped one in from close quarters past a defenseless Howard. With the game still in reach, the Wings traded a flurry of penalties with Chicago; something Detroit could afford less.

Play of the Game: Michael Frolik's backhander on a penalty shot was a thing of beauty and gave the Hawks some breathing room at a crucial time in the game.

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Three Stars
1. Jonathan Toews: The Hawks captain started the play that led to Chicago's first goal (he had two points on the night), but also provided a distraction for the dangerous Henrik Zetterberg all night. On top of that, he was instrumental in preserving the one-goal lead when Detroit pulled Howard.

2. Bryan Bickell: The big frontloader proved to be too much to handle for the Wings on the night, chipping in a goal and an assist.

3. Drew Miller: Demonstrated great speed and grit in a losing effort and also assisted on Detroit's first goal.

What's Next: Game 7 in the loudest building in the NHL? Yes please. This clash of Original Six rivals heads back to Chicago where the Blackhawks can come in knowing that their opponent is also facing the pressure of elimination. The stars from both teams are dialled in offensively now and both have enough experience in the post-season to expect nothing less than a barn-burner between two skilled, tough squads that know each other well.