Chicago’s Johnny Oduya and Marcus Kruger scored in the third period as the Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 in the opener of their NHL second-round playoff series on Wednesday.
The game was fast and frenetic from the start. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made 20 saves, Marian Hossa scored the opening goal and Patrick Sharp had an empty-netter and two assists to give him nine points in the playoffs.
Jimmy Howard finished with 38 stops in a terrific performance, but Detroit still lost to Chicago for the eighth straight time.
The 75th all-time playoff game between the Blackhawks and Red Wings was tied 1-1 after two periods, and Howard made a great stop on a breakaway by Dave Bolland in the third period.
Chicago kept working and went in front to stay on smart play by Oduya. Detroit almost pulled a goal back, but Damien Brunner’s rebound attempt went off the crossbar with about three minutes left.
The Blackhawks killed off two power plays created by penalties on Andrew Shaw.
They killed off another one when Nick Leddy was sent off for delay of game in the second period, making them a perfect 20 for 20 on the penalty kill in the post-season and sinking Detroit to 1 for 18 on power plays against Chicago, including the regular season.
After Leddy’s penalty, the Blackhawks controlled most of the action and had a 17-5 advantage in shots in the period.
They just could not beat Howard, who made a great glove stop on a wide-open Hossa with 6:39 remaining. Detroit also killed off two Chicago power plays to keep it tied headed to the third.