DETROIT – The Wings were two minutes away from history.
Then Patrick Kane found a loose puck on a power play.
The Blackhawks’ superstar (and U.S. NTDP alum) picked up the puck after a point shot was blocked, and fired it over Jimmy Howard’s shoulder to tie the game for Chicago at the 17:58 mark of the third period. The goal erased a 1-0 lead for the Red Wings, and forced overtime – preserving the Blackhawks’ historic streak of now 22 games without losing in regulation to start their season.
Kane would go on to score the only goal in the shootout, beating Howard after coming to nearly a complete stop on his breakaway rush, then firing a quick shot to the bottom-left corner after a stickhandling display.
“Yeah, it’s amazing,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said of the Blackhawks’ streak. “In a competitive league, they’re not making it competitive. In saying that, I think they’re 11, now that’s 12-0-2 or something in one-goal games, so they find a way to win – that’s depth and that’s skill. You’ve got to give Stan Bowman credit, he’s done a great job of retooling the roster and they’re no different than any other team that’s won the Cup. They had to get rid of players, and the players they have acquired have come of age. They did a real good job when they traded for Oduya…they also traded their starting goalie that they won the Cup with. They’ve done a lot of things there, give them credit.”
Tomas Tatar gave the Red Wings the first lead of the game at the 2:43 mark of the third period, firing in a pass from Joakim Andersson for his fourth goal of the season. The goal came after two periods of the Red Wings being out-shot 21-18 (9-3 in the first period), and it started to look as though Detroit would be able to hold on and pick up a regulation win.
Two delay-of-game calls in the closing moments changed the momentum, however; Jonathan Ericsson was whistled for shooting the puck out of play in his own end at 17:35 of the third period, and Kane scored on the resulting power play. Then, Niklas Kronwall was called for the same penalty at the 18:37 mark, putting the Red Wings on the penalty-kill for the rest of regulation.
Captain Henrik Zetterberg said it was a disappointing way for the game to end.
“Yeah, that was what we wanted to do today, get two points and it didn’t matter how it looked, just as long as we got a win,” Zetterberg said. “We were close, but not close enough.”
Goaltenders Jimmy Howard and Corey Crawford posted identical stat lines – both stopped 32 of 33 shots in the contest.
Chicago improves to 19-0-3 with the win, and their possession of the Central Division and Western Conference continues to grow. The Blackhawks now have 41 points; second-place Anaheim has 32.
The Wings drop to 10-8-4 on the season. They currently hold the third spot in the Central, and sixth in the West.