Preseason or regular season, the rivalry between the Chicago Blackhawks
and Detroit Red Wings
never lacks for intensity.
The Hawks completed a comeback from a 3-1 deficit when Marian Hossa
scored during a 5-on-3 power play to beat the Wings 4-3 on Wednesday night before 20,028 fans at the United Center -- the second-largest preseason crowd in franchise history.
On a night when the Wings left most of their stars home and the Hawks dressed most of theirs, Hossa put Chicago ahead when he took a drop pass from Patrick Kane
and beat Ty Conklin
from the top of the right circle at 8:58 of the third period.
Chicago's Ben Smith
had tied the game early in the final period, but had to leave the game a few minutes later after being hit by Detroit's Brendan Smith
. The rookie defenseman got a match penalty and a game misconduct -- he appeared to be lining up Ben Smith
for a clean open-ice hit, but instead struck the Chicago forward in the head with his shoulder after Ben Smith
tried to beat him with a toe drag as he cut to the middle.
had to be helped off the ice, and the Hawks had a long power play that turned into a two-man advantage when Doug Janik
was called for holding at 8:35.
"Is there any responsibility on the puck carrier -- toe dragging, sliding sideways -- to look after himself," Babcock said. "I'm not saying our guy isn't guilty, but you'd better not put yourself in those situations.
"He was trying to make body contact, but their guy did this and left his head there." Babcock added while jerking his head to the side to imitate Ben Smith
's motion just before the impact.
"I watched [the replay] many times. What’s the onus on the player with the puck?”
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville had a slightly different view.
"Both referees said that's a classic example of what we're talking about, that's the illegal hit, it was pretty black and white, I’m not happy about it.
"I think there's no protection in your head and we're trying to eliminate that type of play," he added. "Guys can get a little bit more vulnerable from that hit from behind that might be a little bit different, but you're in the open ice, it's a 1-on-1 play, it's tough to get a hit like that. So I don't know if you should necessarily be protecting your head when you're basically in a tight area with one guy. It wasn't like it was a trailer or backchecking pressure that got him."
The Blackhawks' lineup was made up mostly of players who will start the regular season with Chicago. The Wings left many of their top skaters home and used a lineup filled with prospects and depth players.
"I saw the lineup they dressed and I didn't know it was opening night," Babcock said.
Kane, who's been moved to center on a line with Hossa and Andrew Brunette
in his first preseason game following wrist surgery, opened the scoring midway through the first with a power-play goal on a quick shot from the right circle. Fabian Brunnstrom, trying to make the Wings as a free agent, deflected in a power-play goal that tied it with 4:25 left in the first.
put Detroit ahead 2-1 with 39 seconds left in the period, and Brunnstrom's second goal, at 8:08 of the second made it 3-1. But Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook
cut the margin to 3-2 with a power-play goal from the top of the left circle 1:29 later.
Kane has skated almost exclusively at right wing in his four NHL seasons, but Quenneville is looking more offense from his centers.
"We liked it," Quenneville said.
"I thought they looked (good) together," he said of the Kane-Hossa pairing.
"They had some real nice plays, and there's some real excitement among the two of them, being on a regular shift together. I think their anticipation, their threat off the rush, threat off zone plays ... maybe a little cute sometimes, but I think there's a lot of plays among them that eventually will be cashing in."
NHL.com correspondent Brian Hedger contributed to this report