Nobody in the NHL had a better regular season than the Chicago Blackhawks. Finishing with 77 points, they were five points better than the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference and 11 better than the closest Western Conference team — The Anaheim Ducks. Chicago also opened the season with a record-setting 24-game point streak before the Colorado Avalanche ended it.
The Detroit Red Wings, on the other hand, finished the season with 56 points and had to beat the Dallas Stars on the last day of the season to guarantee a playoff spot. Most people didn’t think they would get by the Ducks in the first round. While Chicago took care of the Minnesota Wild in five games, the Red Wings needed all seven to get past Anaheim.
After Chicago easily took care of Detroit in game 1, the roles were reversed in game 2. Chicago won 4-1 in game one only to watch Detroit win by the same score and steal home-ice advantage from the Blackhawks. This should be very concerning to Chicago. After taking care of business in the first round and being able to rest players, you do what needs to be done in the first game but lay an egg in game 2.
Having won a Stanley Cup not too long ago, the Blackhawks should know the last thing you want to do is give another hockey team momentum — especially the goaltender. Of course, there is something to be said about a team that has been in playoff mode since there was about three weeks left to go in the season and another team who basically was able to coast into the postseason. The desperation Detroit had to play with to get into the playoffs has carried over into the way they are playing right now.
Not only did they beat Chicago in game 2, they dominated. Detroit had more shots, blocked shots, face-offs won and more power plays. This is only going to continue as the series shifts to Detroit. In order for Chicago to regain the momentum they need, goalie Corey Crawford has to be the best player on the ice. If he can do that and outplay Jimmy Howard, then Chicago can win this series. However, if he does not and the defense continues to allow that many shots for Detroit, they could be heading to the beaches early this summer.