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Three Questions: Wings-Blackhawks

by Michael Caples / Detroit Red Wings
Who was the hero?

Mikael Samuelsson capped off an impressive Game 2 outing with the play of the night.  With the Wings and the Blackhawks battling in overtime, Samuelsson joined linemates Jiri Hudler and Valtteri Filppula on a sprint up the ice.  The Wings were looking at a three-on-one advantage as Hudler brought the puck over the blue line.  The trio ended up forming a triangle, as Hudler made a cross-ice pass to Filppula.  Instead of firing a shot on goal, Filppula sent a touch pass back to Samuelsson, who was waiting for the puck just above the slot. 

Samuelsson let a rocket go, blasting the puck right past goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin for the game-winning goal.  The Swedish winger was mobbed by his teammates in the corner as the fans at Joe Louis Arena went wild.  The goal gave the Wings a 3-2 overtime victory, sending them to Chicago with a two-game lead in the best-of-seven series. 

Who’s still tearing up the score sheet?

It’s starting to look like Dan Cleary cannot be stopped.  He had the game-winner in Game 7 versus Anaheim.  He had two goals in Game 1.   And in Game 2, he extended his scoring streak to four goals in three games.  On a play all by himself, Cleary knocked down a pass right off a face-off in the Detroit end.  With a burst of speed, he grabbed the puck and took off, with no Blackhawks in sight.  Cleary rushed the puck down the ice, and fired a shot past Khabibulin for his sixth goal of the playoffs.  The goal gave the Wings a 2-1 lead, which they held onto until the third period.  Cleary finished plus-one on 16:44 worth of ice time. 

Why did this one take extra time to settle?

Chicago turned in a much better performance in Game 2 then they did in Game 1.  They finished with 39 shots on goal, one shot more then the Red Wings had.  Goaltender Chris Osgood did a great job of holding the Wings in the game, turning aside 37 of the shots he faced in the four periods.  But he didn’t have an answer for Jonathan Toews.  The Wings were able to hold the Blackhawks’ captain off the score sheet in Game 1, but he accounted for both the Chicago goals Tuesday night.  The Wings will be looking to once again hold him at bay when the series shifts to Chicago on Friday.

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