The Blackhawks buried the Red Wings underneath an avalanche of goals in the third period on Sunday night at the United Center, scoring five times in the final 20 minutes during a 7-2 blowout of their longtime rivals.
The game was far calmer before that zany final period, though. The game’s first goal came from an unexpected source: Blackhawks defenseman Nikita Zadorov, who took advantage of roughly 20 acres of open space in the high slot and beat Detroit goaltender Thomas Greiss with this wrister:
Six minutes later, Ryan Carpenter doubled Chicago’s advantage with this shot that took a few deflections — including one off the face of Detroit’s Alex Biega — before ending up in the Red Wings’ net.
Just 38 seconds after that goal, though, Sam Gagner cut into the lead by redirecting Jon Merrill’s point shot past Kevin Lankinen, making it a 2-1 game heading into the first intermission.
Neither team scored in the second period. They made up for it by scoring six total goals in the third — five by Chicago.
Pius Suter kicked things off with this seventh goal of the season just 92 seconds into the third:
At the 7:06 mark of the third, Carpenter scored his second of the game, this time on the power play after a neat passing play between Carpenter, Alex DeBrincat and Adam Boqvist.
History came next, with Patrick Kane becoming the fourth player in franchise history to score 400 goals with the Blackhawks, pushing Chicago’s lead to 5-1.
Detroit added a power play goal three minutes later to briefly halt the deluge of Chicago goals. It resumed two minutes later, with Dominik Kubalik scoring after a nifty setup from Brandon Hagel. A nice 69 seconds later, DeBrincat scored to provide the extra point to the Blackhawks touchdown.
- A goal worthy of No. 400 for Kane. The vision, the patience and then a proper bullet past an overmatched Greiss. For me, the best part is watching how Kane angles his skates so that Hronek’s flailing poke check attempt is rendered irrelevant. Here’s to the next 100.
- Lost in the third-period onslaught is that the Blackhawks were getting badly outshot by Detroit after 40 minutes of play (27-19 at 5-on-5, per Natural Stat Trick). Chicago had an 11-8 scoring chance advantage in the first but a 12-5 deficit in the second. The expected goals total hovered around 50-50 for much of the night, though, so perhaps Detroit was not getting much quality from that quantity? Not ideal, but the Blackhawks also owned possession on Saturday in a loss so ... /shrug
- Late in the second, there was an extended shift where the DeBrincat-Suter-Kane line combined with Boqvist to skate circles around the Detroit defense during one of the longest periods of sustained offensive pressure in the game. Seeing Boqvist jump into the play like that is an encouraging sign. Boqvist picked up the secondary assist on Carpenter’s PPG, but more points could be coming at 5-on-5 play with moments like that.
- The Blackhawks penalty kill has not been good lately and giving up another PPG to Detroit’s largely abysmal bunch is not going to inspire confidence. Something to watch going forward.
- Yes, the Red Wings are awful again but credit can be given to the Blackhawks for taking a game that was still very much in doubt after two periods and turning it into a laugher over the final 20 minutes. They’ve blown plenty of third-period leads this season, so any step in the right direction is a positive one.
- Savor this one, folks. We’re likely heading into some turbulence on this flight once we get to March.
- Ryan Carpenter (CHI) — 2 goals
- Alex DeBrincat (CHI) — 1 goal, 3 assists
- Patrick Kane (CHI) — 400th career NHL goal, 2 assists
The Blackhawks take three days off before welcoming the defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning to the United Center on Thursday night.