Red Wings win Game 2 thriller in overtime
A costly mistake has the Chicago Blackhawks facing a 2-0 deficit in the Western Conference final.
Brian Campbell's feeble backhand pass in the offensive end resulted in a turnover that led to Mikael Samuelsson scoring 5:14 into overtime as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Blackhawks 3-2 in Game 2 at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday night.
"If I could do the play over again, maybe, I would put a little sauce on that," Campbell said. "But I have got to make that play."
Campbell coughed up the puck at the Detroit blue-line and Valtteri Filppula and Jiri Hudler broke up ice with Samuelsson, who finished off a pretty, three-way play by burying a shot behind Blackhawks netminder Nikolai Khabibulin for the decisive goal.
"I just kept skating with them," Samuelsson said. "It was a great play."
It was Samuelsson's fifth goal of the playoffs and second winner in as many games.
"It was kind of a risky play," Samuelsson said of intercepting Campbell's pass. "If I miss, something good would develop for them.
"I kind of went over to the hot spot and put my stick in the way. Usually, I go over to the other D [defenceman], but I didn't that time and it worked."
"Good for Sammy," Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock enthused. "This gives us a good start, but this is a team that is going to be tough to put away."
Detroit took the opener 5-2, and leads the best-of-seven series 2-0.
Game 3 goes Friday at Chicago (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 8 p.m. ET).
"We should be excited about being back in the United Center to recapture some excitement and enthusiasm," Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said.
Brian Rafalski and Daniel Cleary scored in regulation and Chris Osgood stopped 37 of 39 shots for the second-seeded Red Wings, who looked weary at times, but refused to be rattled by the tenacious Blackhawks.
"I don't think we had any legs or any pop whatsoever," Babcock said. "I thought it was very evident right from the get-go.
"I thought we had good will and good determination, but no legs. We need two days between games so bad, it is not even funny."
Jonathan Toews tallied twice for the fourth-ranked Blackhawks, including the tying goal that, ultimately, forced overtime with 7:40 remaining in regulation.
Khabibulin faced 38 shots in defeat.
"A brutal loss," Quenneville said.
Chicago threatened early in the first period as Martin Havlat circled behind the net and passed to Campbell in the high slot, but Osgood dropped to his knees and smothered the shot to keep it scoreless.
Toews opened the scoring 12:49 into the contest on a sharp-angled shot that caromed in off the skate of Red Wings defenceman Jonathan Ericsson as he stood at the lip of the crease.
Rafalski tied it with a power-play goal off a faceoff at 16:43, notching his second on a wrist shot with teammates Marian Hossa and Tomas Holmstrom screening Khabibulin.
Nicklas Lidstrom was credited with his 116th post-season assist, a franchise record and tying him with Hall of Famer Larry Robinson for fourth all-time among defencemen.
It remained deadlocked until Cleary capitalized on a turnover at the Detroit blue-line, breaking in alone and scoring his fourth goal in the past three games and sixth of the playoffs 14:06 into the second period.
"I really tried to keep it simple," Cleary said. "I figured I would go five-hole — get a quick shot and maybe catch him off-guard a little bit."
"He is a pretty underrated player," Blackhawks defenceman Duncan Keith stated. "He has really developed here and he is a threat every time he is on the ice."
Niklas Kronwall had a glorious opportunity to increase Detroit's lead as he sidestepped Blackhawks forward Ben Eager and blasted a shot on net, only to watch it clank off the right post.
The Blackhawks slowly took control and were rewarded with the tying goal from Toews, who tipped Kris Versteeg's shot past Osgood 12:20 into the third period.
Khabibulin maintained the stalemate with a pair of splendid pad saves with 6½ minutes left in regulation, kicking out his right pad to rob Brett Lebda and Hudler, respectively, on successive shots.
"It is frustrating," Campbell said. "We battled hard."
Chicago has prevailed over Detroit in eight of their previous 14 playoff series, but the Red Wings eliminated the Blackhawks in five games the last time they met in 1995.
With files from The Canadian Press