CHICAGO – Patrick Sharp and Cristobal Huet rescued the Chicago Blackhawks after a 3-0 lead evaporated against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Sharp scored at 1:52 of overtime Friday night, giving Chicago to a 4-3 victory over Detroit and cutting the Red Wings’ lead in the Western Conference finals to 2-1.
“A lot of teams probably would have gone the other way after giving up a three-goal lead, but we stayed with it,” Sharp said. “After they scored the third one, we played some of our best hockey.
“When we needed to play our best period of the season we did and carried it into overtime.”
With the game tied 3-3 at two periods, Huet came in to replace starting goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, who was injured.
Huet, in his first action of the postseason, stopped six shots in the third. His play helped slow the Red Wings’ momentum after they scored three goals in the second.
“I didn’t have time to think really,” Huet said. “I’ve been practicing a long time for that moment. I was anxious but at the same time ready to help the team in any way I could.”
Game 4 is Sunday at the United Centre.
After Matt Walker’s shot from the point in overtime, Dustin Byfuglien tried to control it in front, and teammate Sammy Pahlsson reached in and pushed it over to Sharp, who got it past Chris Osgood for the winner and his second goal of the game.
“Osgood is a good goaltender. I’ve scored a few from that backdoor and wasn’t missing that one,” Sharp said
“There was a shot from the point and a battle over it and Sharp hammered it home,” Detroit’s Brian Rafalski said. “In a scrum like that, it was a nice play.”
The Red Wings, playing without injured star Pavel Datsyuk, scored three goals in a 4:23 span late in the second period. Detroit’s outburst quickly quieted a raucous crowd at the United Centre after it looked as if Chicago was in control.
“We didn’t have any choice,” Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg said. “Just go after them and keep playing more in their end. We put a lot more pressure on them and created some chances.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t get a fourth one.”
Nicklas Lidstrom, who broke his stick battling Sharp behind the net before the overtime goal, had a power-play goal, and Rafalski and Jonathan Ericsson also scored for Detroit.
Sharp scored on the power play in the opening period and, just over a minute later, Andrew Ladd beat Osgood to give the Blackhawks a quick 2-0 lead. Pahlsson’s goal less than a minute into the second period made it 3-0.
The Blackhawks also were forced to go without a key player after Martin Havlat left in the first period after a crushing hit from Niklas Kronwall.
As Havlat looked down to find the puck near the boards, Kronwall crashed into him and drove him to the ice at 13:08 of the first.
Havlat, who led the Blackhawks during the regular season with 77 points, appeared dazed as he stayed down for several minutes before being helped off the ice by a teammate and a trainer.
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said Havlat’s condition had improved after the game and he would be re-evaluated Saturday.
It was the second straight game in the series between the longtime rivals to be decided in overtime. Detroit won 3-2 in the first extra period Tuesday night.
Lidstrom scored on a power play late on a shot that deflected off Pahlsson’s skate and cut Chicago’s lead to two – a score that got the Red Wings untracked.
Rafalski’s wrist shot from the right circle got by a screened Khabibulin and the Red Wings were right back in the game. Then with 59 seconds to go in the period, Tomas Holmstrom got in Khabibulin’s way and Ericsson’s shot from the top of the right circle to tie it up.
Early in the second, Chicago’s Duncan Keith fired a long shot from behind the left circle and the puck deflected off Pahlsson and went through Osgood’s legs to make it 3-0.
Chicago’s Brent Seabrook sent a slap shot from the high slot on the power play in the opening period and Sharp deflected it in. The score came halfway through a four-minute penalty on Detroit’s Dan Cleary for high-sticking.
Sixty-five seconds later, the Blackhawks made it 2-0 when Ladd jammed in his own rebound, with the puck just trickling over the goal line.
Notes: The Blackhawks are 3-1 in overtime this postseason. … Retired NBA great Michael Jordan attended the game, wearing a No. 23 Blackhawks jersey.