Detroit made their debut at home during the preseason and did not disappoint. The victory came on the stick of Tomas Tatar who with the help of some new faces scored a hat trick that ended in a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks at the Joe Louis Arena Wednesday night.
After starting the season right with a good challenge to the Blackhawks, the Red Wings aren’t fretting over the 5-4 loss in overtime. Four of their young guns got on the board with most of the prospects trying their best to help as getting a permanent spot on the team began. With their chance to do better at home, Detroit will have their second group of players ready to take on the brute of Chicago’s main offense.
Petr Mrazek got the start to be in net for the Red Wings where he planned to vie for the number one spot. He didn’t see action in the first few minutes, due to the Red Wings spending most of the time on offense taking three shots on Corey Crawford and the Blackhawks. Chicago recorded their first shot on goal trying to smack it around the stick side of Mrazek with no luck.
They gained another three shots with Viktor Tikhonov who is the grandson of the late soviet coach taking shots on the Czech netminder. His tenacity upped the efforts from the rest of the team to keep up the heat in the Detroit zone. To make matters worse, the Red Wings handed Chicago a danger major penalty of five minutes. Doing well to play solid defense, Detroit ended up turning into 4 on 4 as Zetterberg took a hi stick.
Tatar got the Red Wings on the board with eight minutes left in the period. The forward got a great run across the ice where he hooked up with Brad Richards before receiving the puck back from Richards scoring a tight wrister into the net behind Crawford. The remaining nine minutes went smooth for Mrazek who dealt with the Chicago rushing offense well stopping another eight shots.
In total, Detroit was outshot 13-5 by the Blackhawks who were trying to even things up quickly. Fortunately for the Red Wings they made the move to strike first which put them in a good spot for the second period.
The second started out with both teams playing even strength hockey getting their shots to the net yet no real change to the score. After ten minutes of play, Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill chose to give the remaining part of the game in net to Jared Coreau thereby pulling Mrazek.
He held up pretty well against the Blackhawks for the first few minutes knocking away the shots they took against the 23 year old. It got a little dicey with six minutes left in the period as Detroit gave Chicago another chance on the power play. They made things happen with Andrew Shaw scoring from direct center, driving the shot past the rookie netminder to tie the game at one.
Brushing off the temporary tie, Detroit went back to making another good run with their top line on the ice. A stretch pass from Niklas Kronwall got to forward Justin Abdelkader who went in all alone scoring a shot high on the slot giving his team back the lead. They only took nine shots through 37 minutes of play but with two goals in their favor, the Red Wings didn’t have to worry about shooting the puck a lot just yet. Detroit earned a power play in the last minute of the period but their 54-second chance went unanswered to close out 40 minutes of play.
The Red Wings carried their power play into the third period where instead of spending time shooting at the Chicago net, they played defense to stop the Hawks from scoring shorthanded. They made their way through the game still holding the lead while playing on even strength. With just five minutes in, Detroit started to show signs of strong puck possession as they moved the game into the Blackhawks zone.
Tatar came up huge for Detroit scoring his second of the night with help from Richards that occurred in the crease to take a 3-1 lead. It gave Detroit some life in their sticks that caused other players to rack up shots to the net on Michael Leighton who took over for Crawford. Time started to run out for the Blackhawks who were still two goals down, but they were being run from end to end chasing the Red Wings.
With just two minutes left, Coach Joel Quennville decided to pull Leighton from the net giving Chicago six men on ice. It didn’t work out as Tatar got in front of the Chicago defense to shoot the puck into the empty net scoring a hat trick with 1:37 left in the game that would be enough to seal the deal for the Red Wings. The team got just 24 shots on net being outscored by the Blackhawks who had 31 total.
With the preseason series tied, it will only spell work needing to be done by both teams before they meet again. Detroit’s next game comes against the Pittsburgh Penguins who they will meet on Thursday.