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Slow down the Hawks? Not for long

The Blackhawks are known for being a fast team. And no, it's not because of Patrick Kane's rumored sordid escapades. To counter the Hawks' team speed, Detroit coach Mike Babcock said he wants this Western Conference semifinal series to be a "grind fest."

Would the Red Wings get their wish? Here's how Game 1 unfolded, according to our traffic light rating system.

FIRST PERIOD

Yellow: Barely 30 seconds in, Marian Hossa forces a turnover, Jonathan Toews picks it up and feeds Brandon Saad, who nearly puts the Hawks up 1-0. So it's gonna be like THAT.

Red: Wings forward Justin Abdelkader tries to hit Hawks D-man Michal Rozsival—and takes a stick to the face. He might think twice about that next time.

Yellow: Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg pings a shot off the post. Score one for Corey Crawford's karma.

Green: GOAL! Patrick Sharp steals the puck and it its way to Hossa, who buries it from the slot. Bonus: It's a power-play goal, and we know how rare those are for the Hawks.

Red: Well that didn't last long. Damien Brunner ties it for Detroit about a minute after the Hawks take the lead.

Yellow: Toews has two shots to beat Jimmy Howard from close range, but Detroit goalie is up to the task. This time.

Red: Andrew Shaw commits his second penalty in the period. Gotta watch those flying elbows, kid.

Score: Blackhawks 1, Red Wings 1

 

SECOND PERIOD

Yellow: Patrick Kane has a shot from just left of the goal minutes into the period … but Howard smothers it. And Kaner's scoring drought continues.

Red: Stupid, stupid penalty by Hawks defenseman Nick Leddy, scooping it into the crowd from his own zone. And one day after RedEye had a two-page story on him, too. Sigh.

Yellow: Patrick Sharp tests Howard from long range, and Howard snatches it out of the air with his glove. Minutes later, Howard robs Sharp again on a one-timer. So close.

Red: Welcome back, Dave Bolland. The Hawks center, recently back from injury, takes Abdelkader down after the whistle, WWE-style. They both get slashing and roughing penalties for their trouble.

Yellow: Now it's Hossa's turn to get heated. He's stopped twice in a matter of seconds, then draws a penalty on Niklas Kronwall. The former teammates exchange words, too. What's "watch your back" in Slovakian?

Score: Blackhawks 1, Red Wings 1

 

THIRD PERIOD

Yellow: Johnny Oduya has a clean look at the goal about 90 seconds into the period and tries to go five-hole on Howard, but the Wings goalie is still on fire.

Yellow: Rozsival flies in on Howard on a mini-breakaway. Howard stops him too. Sensing a theme here.

Yellow: Then Bolland busts in on a clean breakaway from the blue line. And—you guessed it—Howard makes a HUGE stop.

Green: GOAL! Sharp feeds a wide-open Oduya, who finally beats Howard with a laser beam off the post and in. Could this break the floodgates open?

Yellow: As the Hawks continue to dominate, Niklas Hjalmarsson almost backhands one past Howard. And the taunting chants of "How-ard! How-ard!" ring out from the United Center faithful.

Green: GOAL! Marcus Kruger stakes the Hawks to a two-goal lead. Might as well be 10-1, the way the home team is playing.

Yellow: Brunner dings one off the crossbar, and Brent Seabrook sweeps one off the goal line. Moments later, Corey Crawford robs Abdelkader from in close. Whew!

Green: GOAL! Sharp closes the book on this one with an empty-netter, and the Hawks lead the series.

Final score: Blackhawks 4, Red Wings 1

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Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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