It lived up to the billing. First meeting of the season between the longest-running regular season rivals in league history. Friday night. New Years weekend. The Wings trying to close in on the Central leaders.
Marian Hossa worked some of his individual magic, Corey Crawford stayed hot and the Blackhawks built their division lead to five points in the first of three meetings over 16 days versus Detroit.
After having to play catch-up twice, they didnt allow the Wings to even things up after taking their first lead of the game early in the third, even though they left that door open by going 0-for-5 on the power play. Two of those came after they took that 3-2 lead. That unit couldnt generate much against a struggling Detroit penalty-kill, and is now in a 1-for-17 slump. But thats picking nits after the home team bounced back nicely from Wednesdays shutout loss.
Daniel Carcillo offered something in his first game back after missing the previous six. Jimmy Hayes had a prime chance to score on his first NHL shift and delivered four hits in the opening period. Crawford has now allowed just six goals in his four starts following that six-game perch on the bench.
And for all the talk leading up to this one about the respectful, less chippy rivalry in comparison to that with Vancouver, the Wings M.O. versus Crawford could generate something after drawing two goalie interference penalties and keeping him busy with other bodies buzzing around him all night.
He was up to the test while the Hawks power play couldnt make them pay for it. Something to watch when theyre back a week from Sunday, then meet again at Joe Louis six days after that.