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NHL Playoff Game Day 16: Blackhawks-Red Wings

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

GAME 1: CHICAGO 4, DETROIT 1 – BLACKHAWKS LEAD 1-0

Why Chicago won: The Blackhawks carpet-bombed the Red Wings, putting 42 shots on net and controlling large portions of the game. Detroit may have been early champions of puck possession hockey, but the Hawks are the current masters, chasing down pucks and passing with precision. Patrick Kane's work in the final minute and a half of play was a perfect example of that compete level.

Why Detroit lost: The stars weren't aligned for the Wings - and they couldn't get on the scoreboard either. Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk were largely neutralized by Jonathan Toews and crew and eventually that post-Lidstrom blueline showed its weaknesses. To wit, Johnny Oduya was left wide open on what turned out to be the game-winning goal for Chicago.

Play of the game: With the Hawks up 3-1, Damien Brunner put a shot off the crossbar that dropped straight down and likely would have trickled in had Brent Seabrook not deftly swiped it away to safety.

Three Stars

1. Patrick Sharp: With two helpers and the empty-netter, Sharp was once again an offensive star for the Hawks and a physical presence when need be.

2. Dave Bolland: In his return to the lineup, the supreme agitator got under the Wings' skin and also robbed them in the faceoff circle, winning 64 percent of his draws.

3. Jimmy Howard: If you can believe it, Howard came out of the loss with a .927 save percentage and kept Detroit in the game for as long as he could.

What's Next: There were times where it appeared Detroit was playing the perfect road game, taking the boisterous Chicago crowd out of the game by denying the Hawks good looks at the net in the second period. That must continue for longer stretches if the Wings hope to steal a game before heading back to Detroit. These teams are similar in many ways, but Chicago is younger and deeper, meaning the Detroit vets need to rely on their savvy in order to even things up.

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