CHICAGO -- Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock didn’t think it was possible to frustrate Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, but Toews’ reaction to being pushed around in Game 2 seemed to prove otherwise.
The Red Wings, especially their captain Henrik Zetterberg, were all over Toews and gave him little room to maneuver as Detroit prevailed 4-1 at the United Center on Saturday afternoon, evening the series.
“I’m not going to go off and complain about some calls I thought should have been called or whatever, one way or another,” Toews said. “If that’s the way they’re going to play, well, we need to play the same. There’s a lot of clutch and grab, a lot of interference. If they’re going to let that go, that’s something we need to know and maybe do to them a little bit.
“It’s tough to understand sometimes why we get roughing penalties and hooking penalties and whatever it is, and that doesn’t go both ways. It is what it is. If that’s the way it’s going to be, we need to understand that and play more physical and be tougher on them. We’ll know that going into the next one.”
The Blackhawks were called for five penalties -– two roughing, one slashing, one crosschecking, one hooking –- during Saturday’s game. The Red Wings had three penalties –- one hooking, one slashing, one delay of game.
Whether or not the Red Wings were getting away with anything, Toews was made a nonfactor offensively in Game 2. His line didn’t score, and he remained goal-less for a seventh consecutive playoff game.
“I don’t know about frustrate,” Babcock said of his team’s impact on Toews. “That guy doesn’t get very frustrated. He just competes. I don’t concern myself with that. We try to give him no space. They got four elite, elite forwards. They got lots of depth, but they got four guys who are all world, and you can’t give them much room.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville wasn’t surprised to see the Red Wings make Toews a priority.
“We expect your top guys are going to get some coverage looks, be it from the forwards or D,” Quenneville said. “All year long they faced top coverage against them. Hopefully, they have to find a way to fight through it, and we got to be harder in the tougher areas, particularly at their net. We didn’t really look to shoot it. We seemed to be on the outside.”
Toews didn’t believe the Blackhawks would take themselves out of their own game if they started to play in the same physical fashion. He saw it more as a way to balance the game.
“It’s not out of frustration,” Toews said. “It’s trying to frustrate their team. That’s something we need to do a little bit more. They’re trying to do it to our top couple lines. We can do a little bit more of it. We’re kind of letting them skate around with the puck too much.”