Rapid Reaction: Hawks 2, Wings 1

March, 4, 2012
3/04/12
5:52
PM CT
By rapidreaction
ESPNChicago.com


DETROIT -- A quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday.

How it happened: The winning goal came late in the second period when Patrick Sharp put a no-look pass in front of the Wings net, finding Patrick Kane, who slid a back-hand shot by goalie Joey MacDonald for the score. The teams exchanged goals in the first period, Sharp scoring from the point on a power play followed by a Niklas Kronwall goal from the blueline after a nice play by Darren Helm to feed him. MacDonald replaced Jimmy Howard after the first period. Howard left the game with an undisclosed lower-body injury. The Hawks played a smart, and desperate, third period to maintain the slim lead and come out on top.

What it means: It’s another gutsy effort by the Hawks as they’ve taken the first two games of the road trip by playing tight defense and opportunistic offense. Sharp showed his versatility with his blast from the point and his nifty pass to Kane for the game-winner. The Hawks have scored a power-play goal in three of four games and it’s made a difference in the last two wins. Ray Emery continues to be solid in net and has most assuredly won the job for at least the near future. The Hawks are learning to win without Jonathan Toews and continue to battle favorably in tight, low-scoring affairs. It’s something that didn’t happen most of the season. Maybe they are rounding into playoff shape, as they improved to 36-24-7. Another solid win anchored by solid special-teams play.

Season series: The Hawks and Wings have played five one-goal games, with the Hawks coming out on top in three of them, but Chicago has a point in all five. Two have gone to overtime and none have combined for more than five goals in any single game. It’s been a great season series with the regular-season finale still to come.

What’s next: The Hawks complete their road trip on Tuesday in St. Louis after a practice day there on Monday.

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