The Blackhawks reappear and top Detroit 4-1 - KMSP-TV

The Blackhawks reappear and top Detroit 4-1

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

We could say the Blackhawks rebounded with a convincing 4-1 victory over the Red Wings on Saturday night. The most accurate statement would be the Blackhawks reappeared with a convincing 4-1 victory.

The Wings still hold a 3-2 advantage in the series but as they return to Detroit they will be looking to recapture momentum.

In Game 5 the Blackhawks put forth the most complete effort of any of the 10 games played so far in the post season. The better players for Chicago had a say in the win and so did the supporting cast. The Hawks power play awoke from deep sleep with two goals, and the passing was greatly improved from recent efforts.

One of the most important factors was the Blackhawks defensemen played well as a unit. The biggest advantage the Hawks have over the Red Wings or any club left in the playoffs is the depth on their blue line. To a man they played solid defense and were able to shrug off the Detroit forecheck and pass the puck effectively.

The Blackhawks looked like a high tempo puck possession team in Game 5.

The Chicago defense starts their offense and that happens by using quick outlet passes. When those passes are crisp and accurate the forwards can use their speed and skill to generate scoring.

Even though the game was even on the scoreboard through the midpoint of the second period the Hawks had a lot of offensive zone time. It's difficult to chase and eventually the team defense faded for the Red Wings.

The turning point in the game came in the middle frame when left wing Drew Miller hooked Jonathan Toews in the offensive zone. It wasn't a good penalty as Toews wasn't in a scoring position. Miller stopped moving his feet and hooked Toews, it was careless and costly. Andrew Shaw then provided a screen on Jimmy Howard as he tipped in a Duncan Keith shot to give the Hawks a power play goal, and the lead for good.

The United Center crowd erupted and the resolve started to fade in the Red Wings.

Slightly over two minutes later Justin Abdelkader cross checked Patrick Kane one too many times for no good reason and was sent to the penalty box. At 15:47 Toews placed a shot toward the top shelf of the net from down near the goal line. Toews finally got some luck as the puck hit Howard in the mask and went in to give the Hawks a 3-1 lead.

In Game 5 it was the Red Wings who looked like the slower team and took undisciplined penalties. It was Detroit that couldn't sustain pressure and play an effective game. When Miler was whistled for hooking the shots were 27-18 in favor of Chicago. From that point on the Blackhawks outshot the Red Wings 18 to 8. The shot difference for the entire contest was 45-26, and was an accurate depiction of a dominant effort.

The Hawks were not only getting shots on Howard but they were seldom square into his chest. He was forced to move side to side and the Blackhawk forwards were aiming low. This not only made Howard work harder but also his defensemen. The Hawks generated scoring chances and rebound opportunities and didn't make many saves easy on Howard.

Joel Quenneville has been under scrutiny by me and many others for being outcoached. My thinking is still the same concerning splitting up the third line but as long as those players contribute it might not matter as much. Quenneville changed things around last night but this time everyone was on the same page.

Two of the most noticeable Hawks were Shaw and Bryan Bickell, both recorded three hits on the night. They did it the right way and stayed out the penalty box. Bickell in particular came up with a couple of bone crunching checks and set a physical tone.

Bickell was on a line with Marian Hossa, who also played a big game, and Michal Handzus. Shaw was centering for Brandon Saad and Viktor Stalberg, who wasn't noticeable in a good way.

The Blackhawks defense was tinkered with as Brent Seabrook got out of the dog house and played a fine game. Seabrook was paired with his old partner Keith as they had 23:20 and 23:48 of ice time respectively. Just behind the Hawks top pair with 22:38 of playing time was Johnny Oduya who had a strong outing and the same can be said of Niklas Hjalmarsson. Quenneville relied on those four to carry most of the load but Nick Leddy and Michal Rozsival were effective when called upon as well.

Toews has to feel more confident after finally denting the twin. He was teamed with Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp and each were credited with four shots on goal. That line was a dominant force on many shifts and as long as players like Shaw, who potted two goals can be big contributors the offense should stay potent.

Corey Crawford was confident in net and outplayed Howard who finally appeared human. The Hawks made it difficult on Howard and Crawford's mates did their part to lessen his work load.

The Blackhawks will hope home ice can tip this series in their favor but first it will take the same focus and effective play on Monday night. Hawk fans will be hoping a Game 7 can take place back at the United Center on Wednesday.

I will be back on Tuesday morning and follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia

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