NHL

Cullen: Red Wings take series lead over Blackhawks

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Scott Cullen
5/21/2013 12:39:57 AM
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The Detroit Red Wings scored a pair of goals 31 seconds apart in the second period on their way to a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, taking a 2-1 series lead.

While both the Red Wings and Blackhawks were two of the better possession teams in the league this year, if the Red Wings are going to upset the number one seed in the West, they likely need to get better goaltending than the Blackhawks and, in Game Three, Detroit G Jimmy Howard turned aside 39 of 40 shots, doing his part for the Winged Wheel.

As usual, Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader paced the Red Wings with five shots on goal. Zetterberg (4.3 per game) and Abdelkader (3.1 per game) are the Wings' top volume shooters in this postseason. Abdelkader also recorded six hits, giving him a team-high 37 hits in eight playoff games.

Frustrated Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews put seven shots on goal and had a dominant possession game, yet remains without a goal in these playoffs. Toews and Boston's Jaromir Jagr are tied for the second-most shots without a goal in the postseason, with 28 (Tyler Seguin has 35).

Detroit got goals from the supporting cast. The first goal was rookie Gustav Nyquist, with a nifty one-on-one move against Brent Seabrook, from fellow first-year NHLers Damien Brunner and Joakim Andersson. Then, it was Drew Miller (who also led the Wings with four blocked shots), playing in his second game of the playoffs, from Patrick Eaves and Cory Emmerton.

The end result was not without some measure of controversy as the Blackhawks had a goal, which would have tied the score at two, disallowed in the third period as Andrew Shaw was ruled in the crease. Shortly thereafter, Pavel Datsyuk gave the Wings an insurance marker and that was that.

While Chicago can't be pleased to be down two games to one, they should also take heart. They've recorded 40 or more shots on goal in two of the three games in this series and the Wings had allowed 40 shots on goal once all season (55 games) prior to Round Two, so chances are there; they simply have to find a way to get to Howard to improve the outcome.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

Jimmy Howard  (Photo: Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
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