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(Wednesday, May 15th)
Final Score: Chicago 4, Detroit 1
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Johnny Oduya's go-ahead goal just over eight minutes into the third sparked a three-goal final frame that vaulted the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 1 of this Western Conference semifinal series from United Center.
Patrick Sharp posted a goal and two assists, while Marcus Kruger and Marian Hossa each scored once for the Presidents' Trophy winning Blackhawks, who have won eight straight against the Red Wings, including all four meetings during the regular season.
Corey Crawford stopped 20-of-21 shots for Chicago, which disposed of the Minnesota Wild in five games in the first round.
"Much better from our prior series," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought what we're talking about in our team game was in place. Had some pace, had some speed, zone time, and I thought everybody contributed."
Damien Brunner recorded the lone Detroit goal, while Jimmy Howard posted 38 saves for the seventh-seeded Red Wings, who upset the Pacific Division champion Anaheim Ducks in seven games to advance.
Game 2 of this best-of-seven series is slated for Saturday in Chicago.
With the game locked at 1-1 near the 8:00 mark of the third, Sharp made a one- touch feed from the short left boards to Oduya sneaking in from the point.
"He sneaks in there, and it was a great play by Johnny," Sharp said. "I saw him pinching in, I felt like he was wide open, and he called for the puck."
With plenty of room to work, Oduya made his way just inside the circles before ripping a wrister past Howard for a 2-1 lead at 8:02.
Chicago doubled its edge under 3 1/2 minutes later when Dan Carcillo hustled to get to a chip-in behind the Detroit net and poked the puck into the slot, where Kruger recovered it before flipping a backhander into the back of net to make it 3-1 at 11:23.
The Red Wings put together a flurry with under three minutes left, but Brunner's backhand attempt off a rebound rang off the crossbar and was swept away by Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook to keep the margin at two.
Sharp then potted an empty-netter with 49 seconds left to end Detroit's comeback bid.
"They were better than us," Detroit coach Mike Babcock admitted. "The score tonight was more than fair as far as I'm concerned. They were better."
Chicago struck first on an early power-play, as Sharp made a nice play to keep the puck in the zone along left boards. Jonathan Toews ended up with the disc and slid a quick pass to the slot, where Hossa rifled a one-timer past Howard for a 1-0 lead at 9:03.
Detroit answered just under two minutes later when Brunner charged into the Chicago zone and rifled a shot from the left circle that was knocked down in front, but the Detroit center followed his shot and buried his own rebound from the low left side to knot the game at 10:57.
Chicago had the majority of the chances in a scoreless second stanza, but Howard turned away all 17 shots he faced to keep the game tied at 1-1.
Detroit and Chicago have met 15 times in the playoffs and Chicago has taken eight of those series ... The Red Wings are in the conference semifinals for the sixth time in seven seasons after getting ousted by Nashville in the opening round last spring ... Chicago killed off all three Detroit power plays and has not allowed a power-play goal in 20 opportunities this postseason ... Chicago center Dave Bolland returned from a lower-body injury after missing all five games of the team's opening-round series ... Sharp extended his point streak to five games.
05/16 00:11:43 ET
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