Blackhawks get back on track with 7-1 rout of rival Red Wings
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org March 31, 2013 3:32PM
The Hawks’ Jeremy Morin (26), who was recalled Friday, gets the scoring started with a first-period goal Sunday against the Red Wings. | AP
Updated: May 2, 2013 6:31AM
DETROIT — When the puck got past Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford — as the Detroit Red Wings’ Justin Abdelkader whacked the stick out of his hands — with just 33 seconds left in the game, Crawford raced out of the net in disbelief and anger.
‘‘I ran out there, yelling at the ref,’’ he said, smiling. ‘‘Then I realized it’s 7-0.’’
No, this late third-period goal didn’t hurt quite so much.
The Hawks scored early and
often in a 7-1 thrashing Sunday of the Red Wings, emphatically snapping out of their first real slump of the season. It was their sixth consecutive victory against the Red Wings, and it couldn’t have come
at a better time or happened in a better way.
Even from atop the Western Conference standings, even with only five regulation losses in more than 10 weeks, there might have been some doubts starting to creep into the Hawks’ dressing room as their dizzying 24-game points streak faded more every day. Three losses in four games — no, make that three late, gut-wrenching losses against potential playoff opponents in four games — can do that even to the most talented, most successful, strongest-willed teams.
So among the usual mix of jubilant emotions after the shellacking of the rival Red Wings was a new one: relief.
‘‘Yeah, we wanted to remind ourselves what makes us successful as a team,’’ said captain Jonathan Toews, who had a goal and two
assists. ‘‘The games where we gave up goals late in the game and ended up losing, it was just a result of us not playing the right way through that whole 60 minutes. We got back to playing the right way today, and you saw the result.’’
Brandon Saad capped a torrid
March with two goals and an
assist, Dave Bolland snapped a
14-game goal-less drought with two (one a gift, one very much earned) and Crawford made 33 saves in the thoroughly dominant — and thoroughly satisfying — victory.
‘‘We did a lot of things well,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘I liked the pace of our game. That’s something [in which] the last three or four games I thought we were off. It kind of represented the way we played on that last road trip, where we had the four lines, we had continuity in the lines, the consistency from start to finish and the contribution offensively from everybody.’’
The Hawks didn’t waste any time in taking control, either, scoring three times in a 99-second span early in the first period. Rookie Jeremy Morin, who was called up late Friday, scored on his first shift, swatting in a loose puck in the crease. It was his third goal in his 13th career NHL game. Forty-eight seconds later, Saad scored off a nice pass from Michael Frolik (two
assists). Fifty-one seconds after that, the Red Wings’ Jakub Kindl inexplicably roofed a backhander over his own goalie, Jimmy Howard, to give the Hawks a 3-0 lead (Bolland, the last Hawks player to touch the puck, was credited with the goal).
It snowballed from there. Toews and Saad scored eight seconds apart early in the second to make it 5-0, Bolland rifled a shot from the left circle past Jonas Gustavsson — who had replaced Howard after Toews’ goal — to make it 6-0 and Nick Leddy kicked the extra point with 3:39 left to make it 7-0.
Toews admitted the game was a little bit about the Hawks taking out their frustrations over how they’ve let so many points slip away in the last 10 days. But more anything, it was a reminder of just how dominant the Hawks have been for much of the season and how dominant they’d like to be for the final four weeks of the regular season — and beyond.
‘‘How we play is important,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘We want that four-line rotation, and we want to make sure everybody’s contributing in a meaningful way. And that homestand didn’t represent the way we played for most of the year. [This is] what we’re looking to re-establish.’’