Costly turnovers and a brilliant showing from Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard were too much for the Blackhawks to overcome on Friday night, as they fell to once-arch-rival Detroit by a score of 4-1.
The first period was pretty back-and-forth, with both teams getting quite a few chances. Just over 6 minutes into the first, an ugly turnover from Kris Versteeg in the Blackhawks' defensive zone led to opening salvo from Luke Glendening. Versteeg would't see another shift in the first. Patrick Kane scored a power-play goal about 5 minutes later to equalize, and the first period ended in a 1-1 draw.
The second period was, in a word, horrible - at least for the 'Hawks. The puck retention just wasn't there, as the Blackhawks turned the puck over several times. An errant pass from Kane in the defensive zone led to a goal from Johan Franzen, and just over a minute later, a David Rundblad turnover in the neutral zone, leading to a goal from Tomas Tatar. The Wings outshot the 'Hawks 31-16 through 2.
A valiant effort from the 'Hawks saw them outshoot the Wings 10-5 in the third period, but they were unable to solve Howard. An empty netter from Brendan Smith sealed the deal for the home team.
The big story from this one will certainly be the questionable coaching decisions from Joel Quenneville. The infamous line-blender was running all game long after the Versteeg turnover, and some.... interesting line combinations were sent out. At one point, Kane was back on a line with Andrew Shaw, which was pretty disappointing considering how that went earlier in the year.
Marian Hossa played just 10:18 at evens, and Marcus Kruger didn't even crack the 10 minute mark. I'm not sure what those guys did to earn a doghouse spot, but these are guys that need to be seeing more ice time, especially Hossa. I'll have more on this forward situation over the weekend.
However, take no credit from the Red Wings on this one. One of the best defensive and shot suppression teams in the league, they stifled the Blackhawks offense time and time again tonight. These two former rivals don't play again until mid-February, so there's plenty of time for the 'Hawks to learn from this and move on.
The Blackhawks next game is Sunday at 6p.m., when they return home to host the Dallas Stars.
Adam Hess is the editor and publisher of Feathers in the Hat, and a contributor to Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter at @FeathersInDaHat.
(TOI statistics via War on Ice)