Detroit, MI – Jimmy Howard was stellar with a 39-save effort on Monday night to help the Detroit Red Wings take a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of this Western Conference semifinal series.
Pavel Datsyuk, Gustav Nyquist and Drew Miller all scored goals for the Red Wings, who now hold a 2-1 lead in this series thanks to consecutive wins after dropping the series opener.
"Our hard work has been paying off," said Howard. "Guys have been taking the body and blocking shots. We're playing with a lot of heart right now and we have to keep it going."
Patrick Kane had the lone goal while Corey Crawford gave up all three goals on 30 shots for the Blackhawks, who were partially undone by an 0-for-4 effort on the power play.
"They're playing really well right now and have a lot of things going their way," said Kane. "We just have to re-group because I thought we played very well tonight. It's going to be a good series."
Game 4 of this best-of-seven set will take place on Thursday night in Detroit.
Chicago controlled play for much of the first period, outshooting Detroit 15-9. Despite the disparity in shots and two power play chances, the Blackhawks were unable to get any through Howard.
The Hawks had another power play early in the second period when Brendan Smith was whistled for holding 54 seconds in. The team kept the puck in the Detroit end for much of the advantage, and a good chunk of time after the penalty expired, but was unable to get any quality chances on net.
Detroit finally took advantage of Howard's hard work and took the lead at 7:49 of the second.
Damien Brunner dumped the puck out of his zone and Nyquist caught up to it along the right wing. He then skated through the middle and over to the left where he snapped a wrister past a diving Crawford for his second of the playoffs.
Just 31 seconds later, the Red Wings increased their lead as Cory Emmerton picked off a weak clear at the left point and fed it to Patrick Eaves at the low left side. Eaves' first shot was stopped as was his second, but the rebound sat behind Crawford and Miller pushed it in for his first of the playoffs.
A Niklas Hjalmarsson hit on Johan Franzen in the Chicago end led to a turnover as Duncan Keith was able to flip the puck out of his zone. The disc got over a Red Wing and Kane caught up to it in the Detroit end, snapping the rolling puck past Howard for his second of the playoffs at 4:35 of the third.
Just over a minute later Chicago had a goal waived off as Viktor Stalberg fired a shot on net from the right side that got in, but Andrew Shaw was ruled to have interfered with Howard.
Detroit got its two-goal lead back at 6:46 as Smith skated the puck in through the right side and drew several defenders to him before firing the puck over to the left for Datsyuk, who banged a wrister off the pipe in the back of the cage for his third of the playoffs.
The Red Wings caught a break a minute later as Stalberg beat Howard on a short breakaway, but his shot caught the post and stayed out.
Chicago did itself in the rest of the way, taking four minors in the third period that didn't lead to any Detroit goals, but did keep the team from attacking.
Howard finished the third period with 16 stops to give the Red Wings the series lead.
Detroit went 0-for-5 on the power play as Chicago has now killed off all 29 shorthanded situations it has faced in the postseason ... Nine different Detroit players registered a point in this contest ... This is the 16th time these two teams have met in the postseason, with Chicago winning eight. Detroit, though, has won the past two.