Wings overpower young Blackhawks in Game 4
Detroit can wrap up Western final Wednesday night
Marian Hossa has scored six times in these playoffs — twice in Game 4 of the opening round against Columbus, twice in Game 4 of the second round against Anaheim, and twice in Game 4 of the Western Conference final against Chicago.
As a result, his defending champion Detroit Red Wings are within one victory of a return trip to the Stanley Cup finals thanks to a convincing 6-1 win over the host Blackhawks on Sunday afternoon.
Detroit leads the best-of-seven 3-1 and can wrap things up Wednesday night in the Motor City.
Hossa's pair was complemented by two from Henrik Zetterberg and singles by Valterri Filpulla and Johan Franzen.
Jonathan Toews had Chicago's only goal.
Sunday's story was a simple one: the Wings are simply too deep, too experienced and too ready to seize the opportunities that come their way.
Too deep? When the Hawks got a look at the game sheet they must have thought there was a real chance.
The Wings would be without captain and defenceman Niklas Lidstrom, plus centres Pavel Datsyuk and Kris Draper, all out with undisclosed injuries.
That turned out to be no problem for Detroit. Everyone else just pulled together and dominated anyway.
Too experienced? While the young Hawks looked spooked from the opening faceoff, missing as they were first-string goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin after a Game 3 injury, the Wings went about their business as you'd expect of such a veteran-laden lineup.
And opportunistic? The Wings scored short-handed to open the affair, buried another just 12 seconds after Chicago closed the gap to 3-1 and were able to keep their cool while the Hawks went two men down at the 7:02 mark of the second before taking advantage with goal No. 5. And four of their goals were on the power play.
"I really felt the team would dig in," said Wings' coach Mike Babcock.
"I thought [Zetterberg] had great leadership, I thought Hoss [Hossa] had an unbelievable game, the back end was solid and we got good goaltending. We had a lot of poise early and they never got going."
The only down point on the day for the Wings is a possible injury to starting goaltender Chris Osgood, who left after the second period with the score 5-1. After the game, coach Mike Babcock said the problem was dehydration and his star keeper was expected back for Wednesday night.
Ty Conklin played the final frame for Detroit in place of Osgood.
Meanwhile, five of Detroit's goals were against Cristobal Huet, Khabibulin's backup. After giving up the fourth Wings marker in the second, Huet was pulled in favour of young Corey Crawford.
But coach Joel Quenneville, perhaps looking forward to Wednesday, had Huet back in for the third and he gave up Zetterberg's second on another power play.
Quenneville was an unhappy camper after the game and was especially upset about a call at the end of the first period on Matt Walker for roughing after a scrum as the horn went off.
"I think we witnessed probably the worst call in the history of sports there," the Chicago coach said. "You know, they scored, it's 3-0. [The refs] ruined a good hockey game and absolutely destroyed what was going on the ice."