NHL playoff odds: Chicago Blackhawks at Detroit Red Wings, Game 3
Possibly the most surprising result so far in these playoffs was Detroit’s utter domination of Game 2 of its Western Conference semifinal series against Chicago after the Hawks ruled Game 1. Which Chicago team will show on Monday night in Game 3 as the series moves to Motown?
Detroit won 4-1 on Saturday afternoon. Just as the Blackhawks did in Game 1, Detroit took control in the second period and put the game away in the third. Damien Brunner and Brendan Smith scored in the second period to give the Wings a 2-1 lead and they dominated from there. Johan Franzen made it 3-1 in the third when he fired a rising shot past Corey Crawford after a perfect pass from Jonathan Ericsson in the Detroit zone. And Valtteri Filppula closed out the scoring with 7:57 left in the game. That was enough for Jimmy Howard, who stopped 19 shots.
“They were better than us Game 1, we were better than them in Game 2,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said after the team’s morning skate. “So the series starts all over today.”
Detroit’s third line has been an important part of the Red Wings’ playoff success and is already much better now than it was in the playoff opener. Anchored by the steady play of center Joakim Andersson and talented wingers Brunner and Gustav Nyquist, they’re proving they can play with anyone. Brunner has goals in both games against Chicago and has played over 15 minutes in each of the two second-round games.
The Red Wings lineup, not shockingly, looked the same during the morning skate. So a club that was energized and aggressive on the forecheck in Game 2 will seek to amplify that in front of a friendly crowd Monday.
“Now it’s a best of five,” Red Wings winger Justin Abdelkader said. “Each team has won a game, and now we’re coming back home and we’re excited to come back home and play in front of our fans. They’re going to bring a lot of energy and hopefully we can feed off that and have a good start.”
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville dismissed any talk of a goalie controversy Sunday when he was asked whether he would consider using Ray Emery going forward over Crawford.
“We’re fine with Corey right now,” Quenneville said. “I like the way he’s played. He’s played very strong for us all year. Excellent first round and real good start to the series.”
Crawford is 5-2 with a 1.64 goals-against average and .937 save percentage in the playoffs this season.
WagerWeb.com trends: Blackhawks are 4-0 in the last 4 meetings in Detroit. Blackhawks are 8-1 in the last 9 meetings. Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings in Detroit. Under is 17-6-3 in the last 26 meetings. Road team is 15-7 in the last 22 meetings.