Kopecky haunts ex-mates as Hawks keep rolling
Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:06 AM
Tomas Kopecky had a pair of goals against his former team, including one of the Chicago Blackhawks
' two power-play tallies, as they went to Joe Louis Arena and secured a 4-1 matinee victory Saturday against the rival Detroit Red Wings
and Troy Brouwer each had a goal and an assist, and goaltender Corey Crawford
made 36 saves, including 20 in the final period, to lead the surging Blackhawks to their fifth victory in six games.
Kopecky now has four of his 10 goals against the Red Wings. A second-round pick by Detroit in the 2000 Entry Draft, he spent parts of four seasons with the club before signing with Chicago prior to last season.
"I don't know," Kopecky said when asked of his success against his former club. "I always get a good competition level against these guys. I know all the guys and it is fun to play these games. It is good for hockey and every time we have these battles I try to win my battles, my little battles."
After Detroit grabbed an early lead, Bolland pulled the Blackhawks even with a power-play goal before Kopecky went to work. Duncan Keith
's shot from the top of the offensive zone didn't reach Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard
, but Brouwer guided the puck to Bolland near the left post for an easy tap-in at 16:37 of the opening period.
Chicago was on the power play again midway through the second when Bolland sent a shot toward Howard that was headed wide left, but Kopecky deflected it into the net at 10:04. The Blackhawks entered the game tops in the NHL on the power play at 24.7 percent and converted their first two chances against the Red Wings.
"I don't think it was frustrating -- I just think they beat us," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "The specialty teams -- they got two power-play goals and when you're short-staffed like we are you have to win the specialty teams battle. I thought their goalie did a real good job down the stretch and we weren't able to come through."
Kopecky pushed the lead to two goals at 15:49 of the middle period. Another ex-Detroit forward, Marian Hossa
, drove to the net with the puck and Howard denied his attempt as he moved across the crease, but Kopecky swopped in behind his teammate and snapped the rebound into the top-left corner of the cage.
Kopecky and Bolland both reached double digits in goal scoring Saturday to give Chicago eight players with at least 10 tallies. Kopecky's second goal also came just seconds after Jiri Hudler
broke in alone on Crawford and snapped a shot off the far post.
"We gave up too many chances and gave up the puck in the neutral zone a little too easy," Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson
said. "They got a quick team and they transition really quickly. They're hard to play against."
The insurance tally proved more than enough for Crawford, who shook off an early gaffe to shut down the Red Wings for his 16th win of the season. Henrik Zetterberg
thought he might have a goal in the second period, but an official had blown his whistle before the puck trickled into the net and replays showed it was contact from the Swedish forward that dislodged the puck from Crawford's grasp.
Detroit had several good scoring chances early in the third period, but Crawford kept the Red Wings at bay. Brouwer made it a 4-1 game at 8:35 of the third period. He was all alone in the slot and Jonathan Toews
found him from behind the net for a one-timer and his 14th goal of the season.
put the Red Wings on the board first at 10:05 of his first period in the NHL. Emmerton, recalled because Valtteri Filppula
is out with an illness, put a harmless-looking shot on goal from the right wall but Crawford misplayed the shot with his stick and the puck tumbled into his net.
Emmerton became the fourth member of the injury-saddled Red Wings to net his first career NHL goal since Dec. 31, joining Tomas Tatar
, Jakub Kindl
and Jan Mursak
Chicago had five days off leading up this game and the Blackhawks are as healthy as they've been this season. Detroit was without Filppula, Pavel Datsyuk
, Tomas Holmstrom
, Danny Cleary
, Mike Modano and Brad Stuart
"We've been scratching and clawing and working hard and we continue to that every day," Babcock said. "Whoever is on deck has a chance to play and play well. The interesting thing when people get injured and people go away, other guys find jobs and create opportunity and value for themselves and other guys don't."
The Blackhawks have collected 11 of 12 possible points (5-0-1) since a Dec. 5 loss to Dallas -- the best six-game stretch of the season for the defending Stanley Cup champs. Chicago returns Sunday to United Center and will welcome the team it defeated in the Cup final, the Philadelphia Flyers.
"We just have to keep grinding -- we have another tough one tomorrow and it is going to be a good battle," Kopecky said. "All of the games right now are going to be really important. We can't take a game off and every two points are going to be huge at the end. We would like to set up ourselves for a really good standing at the end of the regular season. We don't want to fight for that eighth, seventh, sixth spot. We've got to work every game right now and we've got a good chance in the playoffs."
Material from team broadcast media was used in this report.