Hawks’ defensemen have been plagued by breakdowns vs. Red Wings
BY MARK POTASH email@example.com May 21, 2013 10:13PM
Updated: June 23, 2013 6:35AM
To his credit, defenseman Brent Seabrook owned up to his mistake without even being asked.
‘‘They scored a nice goal; I got burned,’’ Seabrook said when asked what made the difference in the Blackhawks’ 3-1 loss Monday to the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal. ‘‘I’ve got to do better on that, and they started rolling after that.’’
Unfortunately for the Hawks, Seabrook isn’t alone. The Hawks’ defensemen seemingly have taken turns getting burned by the Red Wings. In Game 3, Nick Leddy and Seabrook were beaten by Gustav Nyquist, whose goal gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead. Seconds later, a turnover by Michal Rozsival led to a goal by Drew Miller that made it 2-0. In Game 2, a turnover by Niklas Hjalmarsson led to the tiebreaking goal in the Hawks’ 4-1 loss.
‘‘We have made some mistakes on ‘D,’ ’’ Rozsival said. ‘‘It’s about execution. It’s the little things — making the right play, the right decisions, getting the pucks out. A couple of times [in Game 3] we had an opportunity to clear the zone and make a good play and turned the puck over, and they scored on a couple of those. That’s definitely something we need to clear up.’’
The Hawks were virtually even with the Minnesota Wild in faceoffs won in the first round of the playoffs (168-169), but they’ve lost the faceoff battle in all three games against the Red Wings
(29-32, 25-31 and 29-37) — a statistic not lost on coach Joel Quenneville.
‘‘It’s definitely a factor,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘We’ve got to get better in that area.’’
Center Jonathan Toews, who won 64 percent of his faceoffs against the Wild (69-39), is winning 47 percent against the Red Wings (29-33).
Quenneville disagreed with the referee disallowing winger Viktor Stalberg’s third-period goal in Game 3 because of goaltender interference by Andrew Shaw, but he was over it Tuesday.
‘‘You’ve got to move forward,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘Whether it’s a goal or a call, you can’t influence it anymore. . . . Complaining or feeling sorry for yourself or anything like that, that’s not going to solve anything. Let’s move ahead.’’
Quenneville has been asked about goalie Corey Crawford’s play three times in the last two days and has made it clear he’s not the problem.
‘‘He’s been fine,’’ Quenneville said.