The Detroit Red Wings have accomplished over the last four days what few teams were able to do throughout the entire NHL season:
Frustrate the Chicago Blackhawks.
Frustrated is exactly what the Blackhawks are as they trail their best-of-seven series with the Red Wings 2-1.
On Monday night, Detroit beat Chicago 3-1 in a game where everything boiled over. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews was visibly irate — he’s yet to score a goal this postseason and has just one point in this series — and the ‘Hawks were livid with a disallowed goal after Andrew Shaw was adjudged to have interfered with Jimmy Howard.
The Blackhawks’ frustrations also manifested into penalties. Chicago had 22 PIM to Detroit’s 10 in Game 3, including six penalties in the final period (which included Shaw’s 10-minute misconduct).
So, how is Detroit doing it?
One key has been Howard, who’s out-dueled Corey Crawford for most of this series. Howard has stopped 58 of his last 60 shots faced and has snuffed out the potent Chicago attack.
Another key has been the play of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.
Zetterberg had a pair of assists in a 4-1 victory on Saturday and Datsyuk was at his sniping best on Monday, unleashing this wrister for his first goal of the series.
So yes, things are pretty good around Detroit Right now.
But one guy doesn’t want the players resting on their laurels.
Head coach Mike Babcock — who himself has impressed this postseason — was quick to point out the Wings have been great so far, but shouldn’t get too far ahead of themselves.
“Things are going in the right direction for us thus far in the series,” Babcock told the Detroit Free Press. “But let’s be honest. We haven’t done anything yet.”