CHICAGO — Damien Brunner and Brendan Smith scored in the second period and the Detroit Red Wings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 Saturday in Game 2 to even their Western Conference semifinal series.
It was a strong response by the Red Wings after Chicago handled them easily in the series opener, 4-1.
Just as the Blackhawks did in Game 1, Detroit took control in the second period and put the game away in the third. Now, the Red Wings have a chance to take the lead when the series shifts to Detroit for Game 3 on Monday.
Patrick Kane gave Chicago a 1-0 lead late in the first, but did things ever change after that.
Brunner tied it when he deflected a wrist shot by Jakub Kindl early in the second, and Smith gave the Red Wings the lead when he scored off a feed from Henrik Zetterberg on a 3-on-1 late in the second.
Johan Franzen made it 3-1 in the third when he fired a rising shot past Corey Crawford after a perfect pass from Jonathan Ericsson in the Detroit zone. And Valtteri Filppula closed out the scoring with 7:57 left in the game.
That was enough for Jimmy Howard, who stopped 19 shots.
Crawford made 26 saves for Chicago but the Red Wings were simply a step faster in this one.
FINED: The league fined the San Jose Sharks $100,000 on Saturday for general manager Doug Wilson’s public comments about forward Raffi Torres’ suspension.
The fine was issued for violation of rules prohibiting formal team statements to the media during the 48-hour period following a disciplinary decision. The rule calls for an automatic $25,000 fine, and the Sharks were docked an additional $75,000 because of the “inappropriate nature of the comments.”
Torres was suspended for the rest of San Jose’s second-round playoff series against Los Angeles on Thursday for an illegal check to the head of Kings forward Jarret Stoll during Game 1. The Kings took a 2-0 lead into Game 3 on Saturday night in San Jose.
Wilson said Friday that the Sharks strongly disagreed with the NHL’s decision.
“It is abundantly clear that this was a clean hockey hit,” Wilson said in a statement. “As noted by the NHL, Raffi’s initial point of contact was a shoulder-to-shoulder hit on an opponent who was playing the puck. He did not leave his feet or elevate, he kept his shoulder tucked and elbow down at his side, and he was gliding – not skating or charging.”
It is the fourth career suspension for Torres, who is considered a repeat offender in dangerous hits under the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
Stoll was bent forward while trying to play a bouncing puck when Torres approached him from the side for a violent hit in Game 1 on Tuesday night. Stoll’s head snapped back violently before he fell forward onto the ice.
In an explanatory video released by Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s senior vice president of player safety, he said Stoll’s head was “the principal point of contact” in the hit, creating grounds for suspension. Although Torres initially made contact with Stoll’s right shoulder, Shanahan ruled that the shoulder hit was only a glancing blow, as evidenced by the direction both players traveled after the contact.
Wilson said the head must be targeted to violate Rule 48.1 and there is no evidence that Torres targeted Stoll’s head. Wilson also said Stoll put himself in a vulnerable position just before the hit to play a bouncing puck.
“It appears that the NHL has not only made an inappropriate application of this rule but is trying to make an example out of a player who is being judged on past events, one who has changed his game dramatically this season and taken only six minor penalties in 39 games,” Wilson said.
While playing for Phoenix last season, Torres received a 21-game suspension <0x2014> initially 25 games <0x2014> for a high hit on Chicago star Marian Hossa in the first round of the playoffs. Torres was suspended for two games in January 2012 for charging Minnesota defenseman Nate Prosser, and he sat out four games in April 2011 for a hit to the head of Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle while playing for Vancouver.
Stoll missed Game 2 and there is no timetable for his return.