DETROIT – The young Detroit Red Wings have made the mighty Chicago Blackhawks look vulnerable, beating them two straight times to gain an advantage in their last playoff matchup as Western Conference rivals.
Gustav Nyquist and Drew Miller scored 31 seconds apart midway through the second period and Pavel Datsyuk restored a two-goal lead in the third to help Detroit beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 on Monday night and take a 2-1 lead in the second round series.
If the seventh-seeded Red Wings keep playing like they are, the top-seeded Blackhawks will have a long offseason to wonder what went wrong in a season that looked like it was going to be special.
“It takes something like this to slap you in the face, so to speak, to really understand what adversity is and how tough the playoffs can be,” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said.
Chicago’s chances will improve if Toews can end his goal-scoring skid. He doesn’t have a goal in nine playoff games, dating to last year. He matched Patrick Kane with a team-high 23 goals in the 48-game, lockout-shortened season.
Toews did have a game-high seven shots in Game 3, but Jimmy Howard and his backchecking, shot-blocking teammates wouldn’t let him end his drought.
Kane scored 4:35 into the third period to pull Chicago within one. About a minute later, the Blackhawks celebrated as if they tied the game, but Andrew Shaw’s goal was waved off because he was in the crease.
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said he disagreed with the call that negated Shaw’s game-tying score: “He didn’t touch the goalie,” Quenneville said.
And Chicago’s goalie, Corey Crawford, couldn’t touch Datsyuk’s shot 6:46 into the final period that went in and out of the net before he saw it.
Chicago has lost consecutive games for the first time in nearly two months.
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