After watching game one of the conference semifinals series between the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks, I have realized two things: 1. The Chicago Blackhawks are probably the most complete team in the NHL. 2. There are way too many Blackhawks fans in the state of Michigan.
What’s up with that? It’s not like the Red Wings haven’t given us something to cheer about; they have made the playoffs 22 straight seasons, which ranks 5th all-time. The Red Wings also rank 3rd all-time as a franchise with the most Stanley Cups with 11. When you think MLB you think of the New York Yankees. When you think NBA you think of the Boston Celtics or the Los Angeles Lakers.When you think NFL you think of the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers or Dallas Cowboys, depending on when you grew up. And when you think NHL, you think of the Detroit Red Wings. We have-been and still-are the face of the league, so slow down with that Blackhawk cheering Chicago fans, especially if you’re from the state of Michigan.
But back to the analysis of game one, in which the Blackhawks owned the night as if they were Mark Wahlberg. They shot twice as many shots as the Red Wings did in game one, finishing the game with 42 shots on goal whereas Detroit only landed 21. Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard had a terrific performance with 38 saves, but even that wasn’t enough as the Blackhawks beat the Wings for the 8th straight time dating back to last season.
If the Red Wings look to even this series up against their long-time rival Blackhawks, they’ll have to do it by controlling the possession and taking advantage on the power play. The Chicago Blackhawks penalty kill this postseason is as perfect as a blonde country girl wearing a sundress on a beautiful Sunday morning (20-for-20).
But seriously though, going 20 for 20 on penalty kills through their first six post-season games is ridiculous. Having a one man advantage on the ice gives the team on the power play all the momentum during that part of the game, but if the short handed team holds off the opposing team from scoring a goal, the momentum shifts to their end. And in this case with Chicago playing at home in front of a sold out crowd at the United Center, being perfect on the penalty kill is a formula for disaster for the opposing team, and in this case that team is the Red Wings.
In game 2 expect the Red Wings to come out shooting at the Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford. If you expect to put points on the board, you have to put up more shots on target than 21, especially when your going up against stars like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Sharp (who is the scoring leader for the Blackhawks in the 2013 playoffs). Detroit will play a better game from the start to finish, but too much star power from the Blackhawks will have them going up 2-0 in the series.
Final score of game 2 will be 3-2 in favor of the Chicago Blackhawks.