I tried to warn the Chicago Blackhawks on what they needed to do to win on Monday against the Detroit Red Wings. Did they put pressure on the Red Wings? If they did, it was weak. Did they utilize Jonathan Toews against Pavel Datsyuk? Not really, and Datsyuk beat him in faceoffs. Did they avoid stupid penalties? That would be a big fat no. Long story short, the Blackhawks lost to the Red Wings 3-1.
You could’ve predicted that the game was going to end badly based on the way it began. Viktor Stalberg was lucky that he was able to play for the rest of the evening after being shoved into the boards head first by Jakub Kindl. He went back to the dressing room but quickly returned. That happened on his very first shift after being benched for the first two games.
Tempers were flaring throughout the game. Toews seemed to be on the verge of scrapping several times, but as we saw in his fight with Joe Thornton during the regular season, that would’ve been a disaster. Bryan Bickell was close to throwing down as well, and he was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the first period and a cross-checking penalty toward the end of the third. Simply put, these two teams don’t like each other, and the playoffs make it worse.
Then there’s the case of the no-goal call in the third period. Andrew Shaw thought he’d scored a goal, but the referee canceled it out right away and called goaltender interference with no penalty. The rule for that call states that “if an attacking player initiates contact with a goalkeeper, incidental or otherwise, while the goalkeeper is in his goal crease, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.” The referee apparently thought there was incidental contact, so Shaw wasn’t sent to the box. I saw no contact between Shaw and Jimmy Howard, and Corey Crawford later commented “I think that’s the first time that I’ve seen ‘in the crease’ called since about 2000.” Whether you see contact or not, you have to agree that it was the tipping point of the game and just added to the Blackhawks’ terrible night.