DETROIT – Getting the early lead was one thing. Following it up was another, and the Blackhawks couldn’t do that against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.
Playing without Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson didn’t help – coach Joel Quenneville didn’t want to tax the two players, both coming back from injuries, with three games in four days. But the Blackhawks’ overall game just wasn’t there.
Anyway, it’s a pretty quick turnaround. So let’s get to the notables.
What Worked: The Red Wings’ response after Justin Abdelkader’s hit. Oh, the Blackhawks’ immediate response was fine. Abdelkader hit Brian Campbell high and late, and Trevor van Riemsdyk went after Abdelkader. But it was the Red Wings who capitalized following that fracas, scoring twice in the final 3:35 of the first period, turning the Blackhawks’ early 1-0 lead into a 2-1 deficit.
What Didn’t Work: The Blackhawks’ overall game. It’s been a while since we’ve said this but the Blackhawks were flat. As Patrick Kane said, it was surprising that the Blackhawks’ last game at Joe Louis Arena didn’t draw the expected enthusiasm level. Hey, this rivalry isn’t what it used to be thanks to realignment, and perhaps coming off the back to back – or even looking ahead to Sunday – factored into Friday’s bad game.
Star of the game: Tomas Tatar. Net-front presence is big, and Tatar was supplying it all night. When he wasn’t providing a screen on Andreas Athanasiou’s late-first period goal, Tatar was assisting or scoring his own. He finished with two goals and an assist, to give Detroit their last victory over the Blackhawks at Joe Louis Arena.
He Said It: “Yeah, nice to see Riems jump in there. I didn’t see the hit but it must’ve been pretty bad for Riemer to jump in. Good to see him stick up for his teammate.” — Corey Crawford on van Riemsdyk’s reaction to the hit on Campbell
By the Numbers:
4 – Goals allowed by the Blackhawks on Friday, the most they’ve allowed since Jan. 26 (vs. Winnipeg).
900 – Career regular-season games for Duncan Keith.
400 – Career regular-season games for Andrew Desjardins, who was back in the lineup on Friday.
1,127 – Career points for Marian Hossa following his assist on van Riemsdyk’s second-period goal. Hossa is now 55th all-time in NHL history in points.