THE YOUNG Detroit Red Wings have made the mighty Chicago Blackhawks look vulnerable, beating them two straight times to gain an advantage in their last playoff matchup as Western Conference rivals.
Gustav Nyquist and Drew Miller scored 31 seconds apart midway through the second period and Pavel Datsyuk restored a two-goal lead in the third to help Detroit beat visiting Chicago, 3-1, last night and take a 2-1 lead in the second-round series.
As good as the Red Wings have looked - scoring six straight goals to earn momentum in the series - their hard-driving coach isn't ready to celebrate.
"We haven't done anything yet," Mike Babcock said.
That's an understatement. If the seventh-seeded Red Wings keep playing like they are, the top-seeded Blackhawks will have a long offseason to wonder what went wrong in a season that looked like it was going to be special.
On Thursday night at home in Game 4, Detroit has a shot to put Chicago on the brink of elimination.
"It takes something like this to slap you in the face, so to speak, to really understand what adversity is and how tough the playoffs can be," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "A lot of guys in this room have been in tough positions before in the playoffs and that's never stopped us. We know this is a long series and we're going to be fighting until the end."
Chicago's chances will improve if Toews can end his goal-scoring skid. He doesn't have a goal in nine playoff games, dating to last year. He matched Patrick Kane with a team-high 23 goals in the 48-game, lockout-shortened season.
Kane scored 4:35 into the third period to pull Chicago within one. About a minute later, the Blackhawks celebrated as if they tied the game, but Andrew Shaw's goal was waved off because he was in the crease.
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said he disagreed with the call that negated Shaw's game-tying score.
"He didn't touch the goalie," Quenneville said.
Jimmy Howard had 39 saves for the Red Wings.