Chicago Blackhawks on brink of play-offs elimination
Detroit pushing the team who dominated the regular season to the brink of elimination
Down one goal with the prospect of a season implosion very much looming, the Chicago Blackhawks and their array of goal-scoring whizzes went on a third-period power play.
They did not score a goal. In fact, did not muster a shot.
And so it was another night of empty feelings about the man advantage, with the Hawks getting next to nothing and then absolutely nothing from the power play in a 2-0 loss in game four to the Red Wings, who now take a 3-1 lead in their NHL Eastern Conference semi-final series and put the team that dominated the regular season on the brink of elimination.
"We can look at it over the next couple of days, but we have to find a way to get [better[," Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp said. "It's as simple as that.
"We have to find a way to sustain some momentum and get some pucks to the net. Raise our intensity level. We have to outwork their four guys and right now we're not doing that."
In other play-off games, the New York Rangers edged the Boston Bruins 4-3 after overtime to stay alive in their series and cut the deficit to 3-1, while the Los Angeles Kings beat the San Jose Sharks 3-0 to go up 3-2 in that series and boost their hopes of back-to-back Stanley Cup titles.
Jakub Kindl put the Red Wings ahead on a power play in the second period and Daniel Cleary had an empty-net goal as the Blackhawks went down to their first three-game losing skid all season. The Blackhawks had a power play with 4:45 left in the game when Kindl was called for hooking, but they couldn't tie the game.
Game five is in Chicago and no one wants victory more than Blackhawks captain Jonathon Toews, who couldn't find a way past Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard.
"We've got to find a way to force a game six," Toews said.
The Blackhawks desperately need their captain to score after he extended his goal drought.
Toews was called for three penalties in the second - two for high-sticking - and could've gone to the box a fourth time in the period for slashing Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg while an official stood between them.
"Emotions run high in some of these games, and my stick got a little loose there," he said. "I was playing hard. Sometimes that happens."
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said: "I don't know if it lost momentum in the game, but we obviously could have used something off it.
"The one at the end wasn't very good and I thought there wasn't even enough time to measure momentum. Certainly it would have been nice to get one."
New York's Chris Kreider steered in a pass from Rick Nash 7:03 into overtime to give the Rangers victory in the must-win game.
New York, who erased 2-0 and 3-2 deficits in the game four tie in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, will need to win again today in Boston to force a game six back in Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers won a face-off deep in their zone, and Nash rushed the puck up ice. He stopped above the right circle and fed a hard pass in front that Kreider tipped past Tuukka Rask for his first goal of the play-offs.
McClatchy Tribune, Associated Press