Three Questions: Wings-Blackhawks
DRW.com's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' 26th game
With a quick flick of the wrists, the entire game changed Saturday night. The strange part? Ty Conklin’s wrists were the ones responsible. The Detroit goaltender fielded a loose puck just below the slot in front of his crease and fired a rocket across the ice to Johan Franzen. Franzen brought the puck across the Chicago blue line and hit a streaking Henrik Zetterberg, who redirected the puck into the back of the Blackhawks’ net for his 12th goal of the season. The Detroit marker made the game 4-3, bringing the Wings within one goal. It was all because of Conklin’s quick thinking and on-ice vision; not to mention the fact that it was a great pass – it’s not easy firing a saucer pass across the ice with a goalie glove and stick.
Conklin came through at the end as well. He stood tall against Chicago’s superstars in the shootout, going three-for-three against Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, and Patrick Kane. His shootout performance was highly impressive as he guided the Wings to a 5-4 win.
What was the Wings’ best goal of the game?
With the exception of Zetterberg’s goal (which I already discussed), Marian Hossa’s game-tying goal gets the nod. At the halfway point of the third, the Red Wings made use of the momentum from Zetterberg’s tally when Hossa worked his magic to notch his 15th goal of the season. Dan Cleary hit him with a great pass as they closed in on the Blackhawks’ goal, and Hossa used his great stick skills to beat goaltender Cristobal Huet. Only a few feet from the Chicago goal on the right side, the Wings’ scoring leader pulled the puck to his forehand and roofed the puck. Hossa showed great patience to pull it back to the forehand, and the precision-like shot was a thing of beauty.
What’s there to be excited about for the Winter Classic?
Tonight’s match-up was a great preview for the showdown at Wrigley Field on New Year’s Day. The talent on both these squads was on full display in the shoot-out thriller. Hossa and Zetterberg scored for the Wings. Toews, the young captain of the Blackhawks, added two highlight-reel goals. I couldn’t help but watch this game and get excited for the possibilities of what could happen during the Winter Classic.