CHICAGO – One of the great things about the pandemic-shortened 2021 NHL season was the return of a major rival to the schedule on a more frequent basis.
For the first time since 2013, after which Detroit moved to the Eastern Conference, the Blackhawks would have the Red Wings on the schedule often as part of the temporary Central Division.
What’s made it even better this season before Saturday was the fact that Jeremy Colliton’s team had a lot of success against their rival. Four games against Detroit had ended up in victories for the Blackhawks, aiding their quick start to the season.
But their luck finally ran out for one night on Saturday, as the Blackhawks had a letdown after a win over Columbus on Thursday.
Detroit broke open a tied game midway through the second period, capitalizing on limited early chances then pulling away in the final half of the game. The Red Wings’ 5-3 victory is their first in the series this year against the Blackhawks, who fell to 11-7-4 on the season.
Five different goal scorers found the back of the net for Detroit against Malcolm Subban, who saw his February momentum come to a halt at the United Center. He’d allowed just three goals in three previous starts in the month, including a shutout of Columbus on Thursday.
After Alex DeBrincat tied the game with his tenth goal of the season with 6:07 to go in the second period, the Red Wings’ offense got to work. Darren Helm scored his first goal of the season just 16 seconds later and Christian Djoos added another before the end of the period to make it 3-1.
Evgeny Svechnikov got his first goal of the season in his first game just 2:33 into the third period to make it a three-goal game. The team’s traded scores the rest of the way, but the Blackhawks’ never got close to the lead, as their rivals finally got one back in 2021.