Things we knew before Game 2: The Red Wings won. Brendan Smith redeemed himself. Henrik Zetterberg is really good at hockey.
Things we learned after Game 2: The Red Wings defense is the key component of the series. In Game 1. Two major mistakes from defensemen and two minor ones led to three goals. In Game 2 defensemen played major parts in three of the Red Wings’ four goals. If the Red Wings get holed in their own zone and subjected to the Blackhawks forwards, they’re going to lose. If the defensemen can make smart outlet passes and jump into the play offensively,the Red Wings are going to win.
Through two games, it’s been that simple. Take a look at the numbers.
14:05 1st period. 1-0, Blackhawks
Brendan Smith steps up to take away a pass, misses, and the Blackhawks go in on a three-on-two. Kyle Quincey does all he can to take away a pass to Patrick Kane and does so, with the pass hitting his stick and going to Michal Handzus. Dan Cleary goes straight for the puck instead of picking up Handzus, who passes backdoor for the goal. Responsibility: Brendan Smith (0.5), Dan Cleary (0.5)
2:40 2nd period. 1-1, tied
Damien Brunner forces a turnover in the zone. Gustav Nyquist gets the puck, then gets decapitated. Joakim Andersson chases down loose puck and gives it to Jakub Kindl, who gives it back to Andersson, who give back to Kindl, who takes a quick wrist shot that finds its way through and is tipped in by Damien Brunner. Responsibility: Damien Brunner (0.25), Jakub Kindl (0.25), Joakim Andersson (0.25), Gustav Nyquist (0.25)
16:08 2nd period. 2-1, Red Wings
The puck is flopped up the boards and Henrik Zetterberg gets it as Niklas Hjalmarsson can’t handle the pressure and falls down. Brendan Smith jumps into the play. The dish. The goal. Responsibility: Henrik Zetterberg (0.5), Brendan Smith (0.5)
7:19 3rd period. 3-1, Red Wings
Jonathan Ericsson takes a routine regroup pass and zip lines a pass to Johan Franzen just in front of Chicago’s blue line. Franzen uses that second-best shot on the team of his to put one bar down on Corey Crawford. Resplendent outlet pass. Responsibility: Jonathan Ericsson (0.5), Johan Franzen (0.5)
12:03 3rd period. 4-1 Red Wings
Zetterberg cleanly loses a faceoff in the Red Wings zone but steps around the centerman and chips the puck past Brent Seabrook to get it out of the zone and create a 3-on-2. Cleary does a great job driving to the net, forcing Nick Leddy to go with him. Zetterberg drops it back to Valtteri Filppula, who cuts to the open space Cleary just opened up for him and gets hit by a backchecking Dave Bolland. Filppula still manages a backhand shot, which squeaks through the five-hole. Crawford probably should have stopped this, but the play was so good we’ll give all the credit to the three guys who made it happen. Responsibility: Henrik Zetterberg (0.33), Dan Cleary (0.33), Valtteri Filppula (0.33)
Your three stars of the game:
- Henrik Zetterberg (0.83 goals)
- Jonathan Ericsson (0.5 goals)
- Johan Franzen (0.5 goals)