May 26, 2013 at 2:35 am

Gregg Krupa

Wings miss golden opportunity to close out Hawks

Detroit - The Blackhawks are back in the series against the Red Wings in a big way, outscoring, outhitting, outskating and thoroughly outplaying the Red Wings Saturday, for the second time in the series.

A team that looked utterly befuddled by the Wings in Games 3 and 4, and even walking to their dressing room in the United Center before Game 5, altered their fortunes completely in 60 well-played minutes.

Clearly, beating the Red Wings Monday in Detroit and Wednesday is not an impossible task.

The Blackhawks have the whiff of that sort of success in their nostrils now.

"They're a good team," said Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg after the game. "They're here for a reason, and they showed that."

Their captain, Jonathan Toews, emerged from his funk, scored and looked much more like the great player he, in fact, is. Their power play got untracked and tallied twice.

Their coach, Joel Quenneville, wielded the power of the last change, shuffled his lines and made a difference for the Blackhawks, after being thoroughly out-coached in the first four games. Among other things, he managed to keep Toews away from Zetterberg, who had dominated him.

With that much rolling again for the best team in the NHL, the Wings will have to rally and mount a significant effort against the revitalized Blackhawks, if they hope to end the series Monday and avoid playing a Game 7 in Chicago.

"It's up to us," Zetterberg said. "You can talk about momentum here and momentum there, but it's up to the players to decide who has the momentum going into the game."

Winging it

The Red Wings, who entered the game having defeated Blackhawks Chicago in three straight while allowing two goals, were back on their heels for long stretches, especially in the first and third periods.

They did not quite mail this one in, as they did in Game 1 in Chicago when they had no energy at all after beating the Ducks in seven games.

But they left undone almost all of the chores on their to-do list.

Instead of being in front of the Blackhawks and slowing them down through the neutral zone, they skated behind or alongside them into their own zone.

They were rarely hard on the Blackhawks' defensemen, forechecking.

They were never hard on Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford with their drive to the net and bodies crashing and banging out front.

Possessing the puck far less than in the previous three games, the Red Wings were left to chase Chicago around, stuggling - or merely hoping — to get it back.

They were outshot 17-4 in the third period, which they entered needing a goal to make it a one-goal game.

Until the past six weeks, inconsistency marked much of the Red Wings' season, game-to-game and even period-to-period, especially with their young, injury-riddled lineup.

It was back in a big way, Saturday.

"We weren't good enough tonight at all as far as our plan or what we have to do to be successful," Mike Babcock said, after the game.

Blackhawks score first

The Red Wings did not start well. But they kept hope alive by not yielding a goal for a long time.

Many of the Blackhawks best attributes emerged early.

But when they still had not scored for the first 14 minutes, and the line of Henrik Zetterberg, Daniel Cleary and Valtteri Filppula was suddenly dangerous in the Blackhawks' zone, one wondered if the series really was in the stars for the Wings.

But they failed to convert.

And when Chicago came down the ice, Jonathan Ericsson momentarily got control of the puck, but Michal Handzus knocked him off of it and against the side boards.

When Niklas Kronwall moved to his right to help Ericsson, he tripped over the skate of Duncan Keith, the Blackhawks defensemen.

With both Wings' defensemen suddenly out of the play, a cross-ice pass set up Bryan Bickell well to Jimmy Howards' left.

It was an easy shot.

At 14:08, the Blackhawks finally had their goal, avoiding frustration to compound frustration.

Blackhawks bounce back

Given their delicate emotions, when Cleary tied the game at 9:37 of the second period, converting a brilliant back-handed saucer pass from Zetterberg, the Blackhawks might have been seriously wounded.

Instead, with Drew Miller off for hooking, Andrew Shaw scored 3:31 later on the power play.

It was a huge goal in the series, restoring the Hawks's one goal lead and their fragile psyche -- as well as jump-starting their moribund power play, which until then was 1-13 in the series.

This one went in after the Wings had awful luck: Pavel Datsyuk took the face-off and then broke his stick.

For 1:29, the Blackhawks controlled the puck and the play in the Red Wings zone.

Ericsson failed to clear the zone the only time the Wings possessed the puck.

Seconds later, Shaw put it in.

The real Jonathan Toews.

The Blackhawks' captain finally began looking like himself.

Gone were the penalties. Gone, the whining at referees.

Gone was the exasperation.

And, Toews scored to end a 10-game drought in the playoffs.

It was a big one, too; well-timed.

Just 2:39 after Shaw restored the one-goal lead on the power play, Toews roofed one behind Jimmy Howard from a severe angle on the power play to make it a two-goal lead.

Howard, who had yielded just two goals in the previous three, had not given up three in 35:47 of Game 5 - and he was down early and back in his net opening gaping space.

Abdelkader undisciplined

The Blackhawks looked like they were handing the Red Wings a gold-leaf embroidered invitation to turn the game around when, up 1-0 at 5:14 of the second period, forward Dave Bolland took an utterly undisciplined, retaliatory tripping penalty.

Unfortunately as Bolland went to the box, he agitated Justin Abdelkader and it was Abdelkader's turn to lose his cool.

His unsportsmanlike conduct penalty meant the Wings lost what would have been their second power play of the game, and at a key juncture.

Ten minutes later, just after the Hawks scored only their second power play goal of the series to go back up, 2-1, Abdelkader cross-checked Patrick Kane four or five times.

The pity was, three or four of them did not draw a whistle and raised arm from either official.

But the fourth or fifth one did.

Abdelkader was penalized, and Toews made it 3-1.

"We ended up in the box a little bit too much," Zetterberg said. "But still, all the way up until they got their second (power play goal), we were right in the game.

After the third one, they took over again.

"They're a good team," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said of the Blackhawks after Game 5. "They're here for a reason, and they showed that." / David Guralnick/Detroit News