There was nothing controversial about this one, although the end result was the same for the Detroit Red Wings
scored in the fourth round of the shootout and the Chicago Blackhawks
won a thriller at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday afternoon, 4-3, taking over the lead in the race for the Presidents' Trophy with 72 points.
After losing their first meeting this season with the Wings, the Blackhawks have taken the last three games to open up a 16-point lead in the Central Division over their Original Six rivals.
"It was a pretty entertaining game and those games are a lot of fun to play, especially when it's on national TV," forward Patrick Kane
said of the NBC telecast. "You want to show the world how good this game is. It was a fun game to play in."
Troy Brouwer had a goal and an assist for Chicago. Kane scored on the power play, Sharp added a goal and Antti Niemi finished with 35 saves. The Blackhawks won for the second time in as many days to begin an eight-game road trip.
and Henrik Zetterberg
had a goal and an assist each for Detroit. Patrick Eaves
scored midway through the third to force overtime and Jimmy Howard
stopped 27 shots. It was the second straight day the Wings lost in a shootout, with a Steve Ott goal that involved a video review leading to their defeat in Dallas on Saturday. They drew to within one point of Los Angeles for eighth in the Western Conference.
The Wings rallied from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits, and once regulation ended the action really started to heat up.
Niemi made two big stops in the first half minute of overtime. Zetterberg had a breakaway following a turnover by Brent Seabrook
just outside his own zone, but Niemi got his right pad on the shot. Seconds later, he corralled Pavel Datsyuk
's shot in his midsection and held on for the whistle.
Howard followed with a pair of big stops, one on a drive by Seabrook, and ex-Wing Marian Hossa
missed the net off a 2-on-1 break just before the final horn sounded to send the game into a shootout.
"I thought overtime was pretty exciting," Bertuzzi said. "It was end-to-end rushes, but we've still got to figure out a way to get two points. I still think we're the team to beat. I think they're a very good team. I think we match up well against them."
Although the Blackhawks have emerged as the team to beat in the division, they still respect the two-time defending Western Conference champs.
"It's one of those situations where I still think they're the team to beat until proven otherwise in the playoffs," Kane said. "They've proven that the last couple of years."
Datsyuk began the penalty-shot tiebreaker with a spectacular goal, coming to a stop in front of Niemi and flipping a slow-motion shot that the goalie waved at with his blocker but could only get a piece of as it flopped into the net. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews
promptly tied it up with a forehand shot past Howard.
In the third round, Todd Bertuzzi
skated in wide off the right boards before spinning around and putting a backhander past Niemi, who had slid over to cover the left post. The Wings were set up to win the game, but Hossa extended the shootout to a fourth round by beating Howard.
Niemi then made a save on Dan Cleary to set up Sharp's winning shot.
"It was a mostly even game," Hossa said. "It could have gone both ways and we got lucky and won."
Brouwer and Kane scored less than seven minutes apart in the first to get Chicago off to a fast start. Lidstrom cut the deficit in half for Detroit with 49 seconds left in the period, his second goal in three games, and Zetterberg connected on the power play 8:45 into the second.
Sharp put the Blackhawks back in front at 11:10 when he redirected a Duncan Keith
pass into the net. That goal held up until Eaves scored from the left-wing boards off a faceoff at 10:10 of the third.
Material from wire services was used in this report.