Hawks pay a big price for turnovers

Tuesday, 05.19.2009 / 11:57 PM / Conference Finals: Detroit vs. Chicago

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

DETROIT -- The Chicago Blackhawks felt they did almost everything right in Game 2 of the  Western Conference Finals against the Detroit Red Wings.

They scored the first goal. They put 39 shots on goal. They scored on the power play. They rallied to force overtime.

"I think we played our best game (of the playoffs)," defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "One of our best games, for sure."

But they made two mistakes, and those two mistakes are what have them down 2-0 in the series.

Two turnovers at the offensive blue line led to a pair of Detroit goals, including Mikael Samuelsson's game-winner 5:14 into overtime.

Brian Campbell tried passing to defense partner Cam Barker just inside the Detroit blue line, but Samuelsson got his stick on it and sprung Jiri Hudler for a 3-on-1 that Samuelsson finished off for a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night.

The score was tied 1-1 in the second period when the Blackhawks won an offensive-zone draw back to Seabrook. He tried passing to Kris Versteeg along the wall, but Dan Cleary tipped the pass just inside the Detroit zone and beat Duncan Keith to the loose puck, went in on a breakaway and scored at 14:06 to give the Wings a 2-1 lead.

Those two plays followed Keith's fumbling away a puck at the Detroit blue line in Game 1 that led to Cleary's breakaway goal.

"We've given up three goals where we had puck possession on the offensive blue line," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "We had the puck and we don't even have blocked shots, and all three of them are in our net and all three are huge goals."

Those mistakes are all a team like Detroit needs to bury an opponent, and that's what the Red Wings have done in the first two games of this series.

"Two big turnovers tonight," Seabrook said. "Can't happen. We've got to be better. We threw away one of our best games of the playoffs and we can't be doing that against a team like Detroit."

Campbell said that despite the mistakes, he feels confident that his team did far more good than bad in Game 2.

"On the goal there, I'll do that play a hundred more times," he said. "I think he had his stick completely flat. I'm going between his stick and his skate there, he made a good play. If I had a chance again I'd do the same thing. That's a play I can make and I normally do make it.

"I think we were better tonight. Maybe there's a bit more we can be better at and another level."

They'll have two days to think about finding that other level, as Game 3 won't be until Friday.

"Turnovers killed us," Seabrook said. "I think that for us to have a chance next game we have to come out and have the same effort. … We have to stay disciplined. I think we have to play a perfect game."

Contact Adam Kimelman at

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