Winning in the Motor City will never stop being sweet. Artemi Panarin scored two goals, Brent Seabrook had three points and the Chicago Blackhawks topped the Detroit Red Wings, 5-2, on Wednesday night. It's the second straight impressive performance for Chicago after beating the league-best Washington Capitals over the weekend.
The Hawks came out with pace again at Joe Louis Arena and kept it up for the full 60 minutes. Maybe it's the impact of having some new players like Andrew Ladd and Tomas Fleischmann in the mix, but Chicago has looked noticeably more active in all three zones over the past couple games.
Seabrook opened the scoring in the first period with a nice shot to beat Petr Mrazek for his career-high 13th goal of the season. The defenseman is having a career-year offensively and that continued Wednesday with another two assists in addition to the goal. Seabrook now has 13 goals and 28 assists this season, which puts him just seven points short of the career-high 48 he produced in 2010-11.
The game turned in the second period thanks to a pair of penalties by Detroit. Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall both went off within less than a minute of each other, setting up Chicago with a 5-on-3 power play. The Hawks converted with a gorgeous passing set that culminated with Panarin firing one into an open net.
Tic tac goal. #CHIvsDET pic.twitter.com/6rELTbISGB— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) March 3, 2016
Soon after that, some sloppy play by the Red Wings in the neutral zone opened up a chance for Patrick Kane, who extended the Hawks' lead to 3-0.
Brad Richards would cut the lead to 3-1 early in the third period, but Ladd responded minutes later with a tough play near the net to score his first goal in a Hawks uniform since the trade with Winnipeg. Panarin finished up after that with his second goal to complete the scoring for Chicago and put away the game. Detroit got a garbage time goal from Gustav Nyquist, but Corey Crawford still finished the night 31-of-33 in goal.
In a game where shots were even, 33-33, the Hawks showed their ability to pounce on opportunities and take advantage of Crawford's strong goaltending. This is a good Red Wings team and they found themselves playing off their heels following those second-period penalties. It's a credit to Chicago that the team was able to push and break down Detroit's defense consistently.
The Hawks improve to 40-20-5 this season, which puts them two points ahead of the Stars in the same number of games. The Red Wings fall to 32-21-11. They're currently the No. 7 seed in the East and six points clear of the Flyers for the final playoff spot.