Detroit won its first game at home in Round 2 to jump out in front of the Hawks in their West semifinal matchup. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
Why Detroit Won: The Red Wings pounded the Blackhawks early on in the hits department, throwing off a team that should know a thing or two about winning in the playoffs. Once the tone was established there, Detroit went into skill mode, scoring a couple beauty goals and adding another via grit (Drew Miller's eventual game-winner) to even out the ledger. But most importantly, the Wings stayed physical throughout, clearly agitating the Hawks.
Why Chicago Lost: Not only was the Blackhawks defense victimized on the first two goals, but Chicago was once again feckless on the power play. The two quick strikes in the second period exposed decision-making problems on the Chicago back end (first Nick Leddy, then Michal Roszival), while bad penalties (Duncan Keith) also set the unit back.
Play of the Game: Gustav Nyquist opened the scoring for the Wings by beating out Nick Leddy and then cutting past Canadian Olympian Brent Seabrook as if the Hawks defender was a beer leaguer, before putting the puck past Corey Crawford.
1. Pavel Datsyuk: Not only was he a demon in the faceoff circle (winning 57 percent of his draws), but the Datsyukian One scored a rocket of an insurance goal that spent just the briefest of moments within the twine.
2. Jimmy Howard: No shame getting beaten by Patrick Kane at speed; otherwise the Detroit netminder was flawless, snuffing out Chicago chances early and 39 of 40 shots overall.
3. Jonathan Ericsson: He was a huge impediment for Jonathan Toews, getting under the skin of the Hawks captain and throwing him off shift after shift. Ericsson's 23:37 of ice time was second only to Niklas Kronwall on the Wings.
What’s Next: Despite the consistent efforts of Bryan Bickell, the Red Wings are not going to be goaded into fighting against the Blackhawks. This will remain a physical series, but Chicago must realize that Detroit will simply continue to play by its own highly effective book, no matter what is thrown at them. The Hawks of course, must figure out a new tack, since the Wings have just as much skill in their lineup and won't be outskated.
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