DETROIT -- With less than a minute remaining in regulation, the Chicago Blackhawks looked like they were heading to Nashville for a first-round matchup. But the Red Wings had other thoughts.
Pavel Datsyuk scored with 46.4 seconds remaining in the third period to tie it, but Patrick Kane came back with the shootout winner in the Blackhawks' 3-2 victory over the Wings on Saturday afternoon.
Because they couldn't hold on in regulation, the Blackhawks finish sixth in the Western Conference and will play the Pacific Division winner. That No. 3 seed, however, will be decided later tonight; Phoenix is currently in third and plays Minnesota this evening. Los Angeles and San Jose, who are each one point behind Phoenix, play late tonight.
Viktor Stalberg scored his 22nd of the season in the first period and Andrew Shaw added his 12th -- a power-play goal -- to give the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead late in the second period. But the Wings, who still had a chance at home ice before falling in the shootout, came out determined in the third period. Johan Franzen scored an unassisted goal to deny Corey Crawford a shutout bid and then Datsyuk added his near the end of regulation.
Corey Crawford has been out since before Christmas with an injury that the Blackhawks have only described as an “upper-body injury,” but new reporting from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times paints a much worse picture than originally feared.
Lazerus cited three sources who said Crawford is dealing with “vertigo-like symptoms” for the second time in his career. Previously, coach Joel Quenneville was asked if Crawford would return this season and answered affimatively 10 days ago.
Crawford last played on Dec. 23 in New Jersey when he gave up three goals on seven shots and was pulled in the first period. He had been having a season worthy of putting him in the discussion for the Vezina Trophy, given to the NHL’s best goaltender.
Information on the injury from the Blackhawks has been hard to come by, which is why Lazerus’ reporting is such a big deal.
Anton Forsberg and 32-year-old rookie Jeff Glass have filled in while Crawford has been out. Crawford has a 16-9-2 record this season while Forsberg and Glass have combined to go 6-8-4.
As the Blackhawks sit outside a playoff spot for now, Crawford’s potential long-term absence could affect how the Blackhawks approach the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
Pat Boyle talked with Luke Stuckmeyer for a Facebook Live on the topic:
The Blackhawks are in the midst of their annual bye week during the NHL season, and they seem to be enjoying it.
Despite an ugly end to their pre-bye schedule, a 4-0 shutout loss to the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon, players went their separate ways to enjoy the break.
We found a handful of Blackhawks in Mexico - about as far away from ice as you could get - working on their tans and golf games.
Ryan Hartman’s Instagram captured a few pictures, and a video of himself teeing off shirtless, and shoeless. We're guessing they get a little more leeway on the course than you or I would.
This is the second year that all teams have at least a five-day break in their schedule. Perhaps it will allow the Blackhawks to reset and make a run at the postseason.