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Cullen: Blackhawks dominate opener against Red Wings

Scott Cullen
5/16/2013 1:01:43 AM
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The top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks asserted their will over the Detroit Red Wings, dominating play on their way to a 4-1 win in the first game of their second round playoff series.

While the game was tied through two periods, Chicago outshot Detroit 41-21 overall (broken down 23-12 through the first two periods and 18-9 in the third).

Blackhawks LW Patrick Sharp delivered a strong all-around performance adding an empty net goal to a pair of assists, finishing a plus-2, and registering a game-high seven shots on goal. Sharp's line, with linemates Patrick Kane and Michal Handzus, also had the best possession numbers for the Blackhawks.

Sharp had six goals in 28 games for the Blackhawks during the regular season and now has six goals in six playoff games.

The worst possession numbers for Detroit belonged to Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula, Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson.

Blackhawks D Johnny Oduya scored the winning goal and was plus-3. Oduya had three goals in 48 regular season games and now has two in six playoff games.

Red Wings C Pavel Datsyuk was held without a shot in 21:20 of ice time. The Blackhawks didn't assign a specific line to defend Datsyuk, so he saw a lot of the top two units, the defence tandem of Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson spent most of the night matched up against Datsyuk. There was only one game all season through 55 games (48 regular season plus seven playoff games) in which Datsyuk played more yet was still held without a shot on goal. That game was April 12, in a 3-2 loss at Chicago.

Blackhawks C David Bolland returned to the lineup and played 11:36 in his first playoff action. He had four shots on goal and picked up slashing and roughing minors during a run-in with Red Wings RW Justin Abdelkader who, incidentally, had a game-high eight hits. Detroit outhit Chicago 43-24 but, in a game in which they were so soundly outshot, that indicates a lack of puck possession more than a decidedly more physical approach.

It may not come as a surprise that the Blackhawks won the first game of the series on home ice, but the ease with which they did it against a very good Detroit team was most impressive.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

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