It didn’t take long before this series’ tone was established. How about at the opening introductions? The caterwauling chorus of “Detroit sucks!” reverberated through every crevice of the United Center — and Game 1 hadn’t started. That spoke to some deep-seeded parochialism or camouflaged an even deeper-rooted sentiment through the Second City as the Red Wings and Blackhawks renew one of the longest rivalries in NHL history. Fear. This isn’t your typical No. 1 vs. No. 7 second-round matchup. Not when that seventh seed is a Wings team that certainly looked much sturdier in stride and more confident in its resolve approaching this Game 1 than in its previous playoff series opener. Mess around with the Wings at your own risk. The Blackhawks didn’t. There were times in the third period Wednesday night when it looked as if Chicago had eight skaters on the attack instead of the customary five. Constantly pushing and pursuing, the Blackhawks eventually tilted the ice toward the Detroit defensive zone. It was only a matter of time before everything came crashing down on goalie Jimmy Howard. There’s some solace that the Wings’ 4-1 loss only counts as one game. But that will last about as long as the amount of the time the Wings were able to keep the puck out of their own end in the final period. “We just turned the puck over far, far too much,” Howard lamented afterward. “It seemed too much like every time we got it just past our own blue line, they were pushing back into our zone. We’ve got to clean that up.” The Blackhawks outshot the Wings, 36-14, in the final two periods. Calling that inexcusable isn’t strong enough. Game 1 of the conference semifinals bore an embarrassing resemblance to the first game of the lockout-shortened season four months ago when St. Louis found every leak, every crack in the Wings’ defense and poor puck possession. The Wings had sufficient recovery time then. They don’t now, especially if Game 1 is any indication of what awaits them in the remaining games. “We just have to go back to work and learn from the mistakes we made,” Niklas Kronwall said.
Uh-Oh! It'll be a short series at this rate
Detroit Free Press | May 16