Red Wings 4, Blackhawks 1
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– Is Dominik Hasek making a statement?
The Red Wings had already wrapped up the Presidents’ Trophy on Thursday against Columbus and the first-round matchup with Nashville already set. But a question mark still lingers in the Detroit net.
Hasek, who has split time with Chris Osgood
all season, kept the Chicago Blackhawks frustrated in a 4-1 win in the season-finale. Nicklas Lidstrom
scored two power play goals, while Jiri Hudler and Mark Hartigan also tallied for the Wings.
Last Wednesday’s game against Chicago wasn’t so picturesque. Hasek was pulled after allowing three goals on six shots. He hadn’t beaten the Blackhawks in four tries this season, either.
But on Sunday, Hasek was … well, Hasek. He made the unorthodox saves. He bolted from his net to thwart a charging Blackhawk near the blue line. He was the first star.
And his best came when the Wings held a slim 1-0 lead in the second. Leading rookie scorer Patrick Kane tipped the puck on net. Hasek caught
a piece of the shot with his arm but the puck fluttered into the air and heading toward the back of the net. But staring up to the rafters, Hasek caught the falling puck just before it crossed the goal line.
Hasek also broke up a 3-on-0 rush just over a minute into the third period. A turnover at the blue line left Patrick Sharp alone for a tip-in atop the crease. But Hasek left him no room to finagle – and quickly swept the puck out of harm’s way.
Maybe he’s just starting to clear his throat, but Hasek has won four of five starts, minus last week’s blip in Chicago.
Fresh faces popped on the scoresheet for the Wings. Midway through the first period, Darren McCarty fought along the boards to get the puck to Hudler out front. He quickly one-timed the feed past Nikolai Khabibulin, notching his first goal in almost a month. McCarty’s assist was his first point as a Wing since March 31, 2004.
“You have to have everybody contribute at playoff time or you’re not going to continue to play,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “If you go for four rounds, sometimes the big guys don’t even score for two. And that’s what team depth’s about … if someone else can contribute, it makes it a lot easier to win.”
The Wings doubled their lead on a two-man advantage late in the second. With Dan Cleary
’s body blinding Khabibulin, Lidstrom’s laser
found room on the low glove side, grabbing the 2-0 lead.
Hartigan and Lidstrom doubled
the Red Wings’ lead to 4-0 in the third period. It was Hartigan’s second
goal in as many games.
also returned to the Wings lineup after missing 13 games with a groin injury. Holmstrom played most of the game alongside Henrik Zetterberg
and Pavel Datsyuk
He’s one of the first Wings to get back up into a lineup that’s still without Kris Draper
, Mikael Samuelsson, Kirk Maltby and Brad Stuart
. But the Wings will have time off before opening the postseason against the Nashville Predators on Thursday at Joe Louis Arena. Game 2 is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. EDT -- also at Joe Louis Arena.
“We’re hoping the next four days will have great healing powers,” Babcock said.
Detroit also wrapped up the Jennnigs Trophy, for least team goals against, in the league. The Red Wings allowed just 184 team goals this season, six fewer than Anaheim, who still had to play Phoenix Sunday evening … Darren McCarty was playing in just his third game with the club this season … Former Michigan State Spartans star Justin Abdelkader
played in his second straight game for the Wings after signing a three-year contract on Friday.
|Three star selections