As frustration sets in, Blackhawks fall again to Detroit 3-1 - KMSP-TV

As frustration sets in, Blackhawks fall again to Detroit 3-1

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

After suffering a convincing lost on Saturday the Chicago Blackhawks came up with a much better effort in Game 3 but still fell to Detroit 3-1.

Many will blame a blown call on a goaltender interference infraction for sealing the Hawks fate. The Chicago quest for a victory wasn't paved with good fortune and all in all it was a difficult night for the players as well as Blackhawk fans.

It is a challenge to not make criticizing the officiating a regular part of writing Blackhawks columns. There isn't another professional sport that changes the way games are officiated in the postseason more than the NHL. Teams play all season to qualify for a chance to win the Stanley Cup but come every spring certain infractions aren't called nearly as often.

That is part of dealing with the NHL, the rule book sometimes appears to be written in water colors and officiating is anything but consistent. That said officiating can't be used as a reason for a loss and it shouldn't be following Monday night's contest.

In my view Andrew Shaw standing in the goal crease, which is allowed, did not hinder Howard from making a save. That is the only factor which should define a goaltender interference call and subsequent waive off of a goal.

Unless absolutely sure, a referee shouldn't waive off a goal and make a call based on what he thought happened. The overall consequence of last night's no-goal call, which would have tied the game at two early in the third period, can be debated. The Hawks were starting to roll and there is no telling what the final outcome would have been if the goal counted, but the Wings still deserved the victory.

The best teams survive bad calls and unlucky breaks and find a way to win and Monday night the Hawks didn't have enough. A short time following the debated no-goal call, Detroit scored their third goal and subsequently the Hawks had no answers.

As of now, the Red Wings look more focused, better coached and able to play a more complete game than the Blackhawks. So let's put the Shaw goaltender interference penalty on the back burner. The Hawks came out and tried to take control in the opening frame. The Red Wings held strong and scored twice within 31-seconds in the middle frame to take a big two goal lead into the final period.

The Blackhawks battled back but were not able to succeed. Before the focus is fixed on a bad call or a shot Corey Crawford could have saved, it is best to remember scoring two goals in 120 minutes of hockey doesn't ever lead to many victories.

Credit has to be given to the Red Wings who went from an awful loss in Game 1 to being in command of this series after Game 3. When top line players don't produce and the supporting cast gets outplayed trouble is sure to follow.

The Red Wings best players have been better in the last two games and their supporting cast has outplayed their counterparts as well. Couple that fact with the Hawks being not as good while at even strength and unable to score a power play goal, and the outcomes of Game 2 and 3 should be understood.

As a head coach, Joel Quenneville is still seeking playoff success when facing Mike Babcock. No sooner did Monday night's game begin when Quenneville started shuffling line combinations.

Maybe Coach Q. was looking for an early edge. Possibly Babcock is in Quenneville's head like he was with Anaheim's bench boss Bruce Boudreau in the opening round. Boudreau commented dealing with Babcock can wear a coach out and so far Quenneville probably feels the same.

With the return of Viktor Stalberg, Quenneville slotted Michal Handzus down on the fourth line. That is where Handzus belongs but how he was used is questionable. The main reason to dress Handzus is for his ability to win faceoffs and also to help on the penalty kill. It is up to Quenneville to be able to get Handzus on the ice for important faceoffs.

The Hawks had a difficult time at the dot winning only 44 percent of 66 total faceoffs during the contest. In the opening period Handzus took a measly three faceoffs and for the night he was on for a total of only eight draws. Handzus won five out of eight but that's not enough attempts. If Handzus can't make a bigger impact there is little reason for him to be in the lineup.

The Blackhawks did put some pressure on Howard and recorded 40 shots on goal. On many of those shots Howard had an unobstructed view and the Hawks didn't connect on any rebound attempts. The Detroit defense has done a fine job but Chicago forwards need to do a better job of winning individual battles.

Jonathan Toews got to the net and did have seven shots but once again was held without a goal for his efforts. Toews didn't have his usual success in the faceoff circle either. Patrick Kane got on the board with the Hawks lone tally. Kane was trying to create and had the puck often but couldn't generate enough offense.

It seems to be a common theme for losing teams in the playoffs. Their offense dries up, the power play isn't good and in the end frustration and bad penalties keep occurring. That was the case in Game 3 for the Blackhawks as they were assessed seven penalties on the night.

Officially the Hawks were given five consecutive penalties in the final period. The last infraction was a misconduct penalty to Shaw at the 20 minute mark for yapping as he left the ice.

Shaw needed to have a positive impact for the Hawks to win. Instead he took a couple bad penalties and now has gotten the attention of the referees. In the NHL referees don't like getting shown up, especially so by younger players. They also have long memories, just ask Daniel Carcillo.

It would be much better for Shaw and his teammates if he conducts himself as he did throughout most of the season. Agitate but stay in control and be disciplined enough to not retaliate. Otherwise Shaw goes from being an important part of the Chicago lineup to a liability.

Following the game Quenneville didn't sound like a confident coach and he brought up the no-goal call in third period. He remarked the Blackhawks hit the wall after the goal was waived off. That play could be called a turning point, but there was more to the loss.

A closer look points to the Red Wings making a strong push in the second period to seize control of the game. Detroit's 10th shot on goal came at 6:34 of the middle frame. When the second period ended the Wings had recorded a total of 23 shots and had taken a 2-0 lead. The Blackhawks fired 17 shots on goal in the third frame but could only get one past Howard. The night ended with the Hawks showing their frustration.

The Red Wings looked to be a worn and badly beaten group after Game 1. Now they can put the Blackhawks in a stranglehold with a victory in Game 4 on Thursday.

I will be back on Friday and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia

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