The Blackhawks closed out 2011 in fine fashion with a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The raucous, capacity crowd of 22,166 was treated to a highly entertaining game. Both teams played well enough to win but the Hawks best players were better than Detroit’s top performers.
The Blackhawks deserved the victory as they held the Red Wings’ skill players in check. This was a big win for Chicago beyond the rivalry factor. The Hawks were able to play faster than the Wings which exploited Detroit’s defense. Red Wing defenders were caught hooking and holding. Unfortunately the Hawks could not capitalize on power play chances or this game wouldn’t have been so close.
Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews each had a goal and were the two best skaters on the ice. On the Detroit side of the ledger Pavel Datsyuk didn’t have a shot on goal. The Wings other big gun, Henrik Zetterberg was also held scoreless. Zetterberg had only one shot and finished the night a minus two.
It wasn’t only Chicago star players which helped defeat Detroit as others contributed to the victory.
Daniel Carcillo returned to action with four hits, a fight and a nice assist. In his first NHL game, right winger Jimmy Hayes made his presence felt. The 6’6”- 220 lb. Hayes had four hits in the first period.
Carcillo and Hayes set the tone as the Hawks recorded 13 hits in the opening frame. Hayes was credited with two shots on goal and hit the post with his first attempt on Jimmy Howard. With the help of Hayes, the fourth line outplayed their Detroit counterparts.
Goal tenders Corey Crawford and Howard both had very good performances. Crawford was a little more fortunate as the Red Wings hit iron on more than one occasion. In total he was also a little sharper than Howard.
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