Blackhawks put superiority on display in win over Wings

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Chicago Blackhawks are defending Stanley Cup champions, have won three of the last six, and some people term them a dynasty.

Judging by the way they looked Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena they’re interested in extending their reign atop the NHL.

They are a deep, talented team.

The Red Wings kept it close early, but allowed two quick, second-period, power-play goals, and those proved crucial in the Wings' 5-2 loss.

BOX SCORE: Blackhawks 5, Red Wings 2

“We worked ourselves into the game and had something going, and unfortunately I take a bad penalty, then we’re down two guys and they score two quick ones,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “It’s tough to come back three (goals) from this team.”

The defeat ended a three-game winning streak for the Red Wings (32-21-11) and kept them one point back of the top three automatic playoff spots in the Atlantic Division — but still safely in a wild-card spot.

Brad Richards scored a third-period, power-play goal against the team he won a Stanley Cup with last season, his laser from the circle at 4:49 of the third period providing hope.

But it was brief.

Andrew Ladd and Artem Panarin (his second goal of the game) scored 35 seconds apart with just under six minutes left to cement the victory for Chicago (40-20-5).

“It (Richards’ goal) did give us a little bit of life and you have an opportunity maybe at that point,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “But the game, to me, really hinged on the specialty teams in the second period.”

Gustav Nyquist scored his 16th goal with just over two minutes left to close out the scoring.

Chicago’s Brent Seabrook and Patrick Kane each had a goal and two assists for the Blackhawks.

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford stopped 31 shots, while Petr Mrazek made 28 saves after missing Monday’s game with a groin injury.

Mrazek allowed five goals in a game for the third time in his last six starts, two of them five-goal games and defeats.

“Every game is different,” Mrazek said. “You battle hard and pucks go in, so you just have to battle hard and don’t worry about the five goals.

“The game is over and we have to look forward.”

It’s not an old-fashioned, consecutive-nights back-to-back, but the teams play again Sunday at United Center in Chicago.

A few Red Wings players talked about these games being a measuring stick to see where they stand against the Stanley Cup champions.

After this game, it’s fair to say there’s still some work to do.

“Every game is a measuring stick in this league,” Blashill said. “You constantly have an opportunity to say what type of team you are. We had an opportunity to take two points and didn’t take them. There’s a lot of things we can improve on.”

The Red Wings put themselves in a hole early, which probably wasn’t the perfect recipe for success.

Trailing on the play, Seabrook capped a nice passing play from Erik Gustafsson and Teuvo Teravainen with a shot from near the dot that beat Mrazek under his arm at 2:23 of the first period.

“The puck dropped a little bit in front of me,” Mrazek said. “It went through my glove, obviously one I’d want back.”

A pair of Red Wings power plays in the first half of the second period failed to generate any momentum, and from there the game turned completely in Chicago’s favor.

After Zetterberg was called for tripping at 13:22, the Red Wings put themselves in a larger predicament when Niklas Kronwall was called for hooking Panarin at 14:09.

That gave the Blackhawks a two-man advantage for 1:13, and against this offensive lineup, that’s simply too much time.

Panarin made it 2-0, converting a pass from Kane, then 35 seconds later and still on the power play, Kane took a pass from Seabrook, entered the Red Wings zone, and beat Mrazek from the dot with his 37th goal.

“The whole game shifted,” Blashill said of the two quick goals.