Here's a quick look at the Blackhawks' win in Detroit on Friday night.
How it Happened: The Hawks came out on fire opening the game with a dynamic shift by Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, and Marian Hossa. They won board and puck battles, eventually getting it to a pinching Brent Seabrook for a goal 27 seconds into the contest. The Hawks never looked back. Two more goals in the opening 20 minutes set the tone for the rest of the night. Ben Smith scored his first career goal after a great poke-check by Patrick Kane. Brian Campbell also scored and Marian Hossa finished a breakaway on the power play in the second period. The Hawks led 4-0 at one point and cruised from there. Corey Crawford earned an assist on the Hossa goal for his first career point. Tomas Holmstrom added a late goal for the Wings.
What it means: The Hawks needed a win to stay alive in the playoff hunt and what they got was one of their better performances in quite some time. In the process they swept all three games played in Detroit this season. It puts them on the brink of a return to the playoffs and a chance to defend their Stanley Cup. Smith had his best game of his young career, killing penalties while earning his first NHL point. The Hawks got more contributions from their defense in the form of goals by Seabrook and Campbell. The combination of role players and blue-liners earning points bodes well for a playoff run, if they get in.
Playoff Update: If the Dallas Stars lose their game, which began 90 minutes after the Hawks, Chicago clinches a playoff berth. A Stars’ shootout win in Colorado also gets the Hawks to the playoffs.
What’s next: The Hawks conclude the regular season on Sunday with another matchup with the Wings this time at the United Center. If San Jose wins its game late Friday night, the game will have no meaning to Detroit in regards to the standings.