Andrew Shaw (right) and the Blackhawks revealed that the Red Wings have gotten into their heads. (Icon SMI)
By Allan Muir
There was a script going around before this series that had the top-ranked Chicago Blackhawks rolling over the underdog Detroit Red Wings.
Apparently Mike Babcock’s crew decided that script needed a few revisions.
In Game 3 on Monday night in Detroit, the Wings asserted their physical dominance early, then got second-period goals from Gustav Nyquist and Drew Miller 31 seconds apart followed by a third-period dagger from Pavel Datsyuk for a 3-1 win that gave them an unexpected 2-1 lead in the series.
Depth was supposed to provide a clear advantage for the Blackhawks, but again it was Detroit’s unheralded third and fourth lines that made things happen with their work along the boards and in front of the net. “We’ve got guys whose job is to hit and provide energy,” Miller said. “That’s kind of how we play. We want to hit, and it’s playoff time, so we ramp it up.”
The pounding took a toll on the Hawks, whose frustration was made apparent when they took five consecutive penalties in a nasty third period. “We were scratching, clawing, and we were tough to play against,” said Jonathan Toews, Chicago’s captain. “We’ll come back even harder in the next one. It almost takes something like this, or maybe someone to slap you in the face so to speak, to really understand what adversity is and how tough the playoffs can be.”
Clearly, it’s going a lot tougher than they expected.
Some thoughts and observations from tonight’s contest: