x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Blackhawks force Game 7 against Red Wings in NHL play-offs

Chicago side score thrice in the first half of the final period to beat Detroit 4-3.

The Chicago Blackhawks, in white, trailed 3-1 at one point in Game 6. Carlos Osorio / AP Photo
The Chicago Blackhawks, in white, trailed 3-1 at one point in Game 6. Carlos Osorio / AP Photo

The Chicago Blackhawks crammed on three goals in the first half of the final period to beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 on Monday, squaring the NHL Western Conference finals at 3-3 and forcing a deciding Game 7.

The Blackhawks, who trailed the second round series 3-1, began the third period down by one but went up by two after an offensive flurry. They needed the cushion because Damien Brunner scored with 52 seconds left to pull Detroit within one.

The Red Wings pulled their goaltender, but they were unable to score with the extra skater.

Still, Detroit coach Mike Babcock was emphasising the positive as they head into the decider on Wednesday.

"If I would've told Detroit and Michigan we would play in Chicago in Game 7, everybody would be excited about that," Babcock said. "I love Game 7s.

"We've got a chance to push them out of the play-offs. It should be a lot of fun."

Chicago opened the scoring when Marian Hossa got his stick to the puck in a goalmouth scramble less than four minutes in.

Patrick Eaves tied the game with his first goal of the post-season later in the period and Joakim Andersson put the Red Wings up 2-1 with a long wrister 10:11 into the second period.

Corey Crawford, the Chicago goalie, blamed himself for letting in the fluttering shot, leaving the top-seeded Blackhawks staring at elimination.

"I pretty much told myself it can't get any worse," Crawford said.

In fact it soon got better, as the Blackhawks turned it around rapidly in the third, silencing the raucous home crowd.

Michael Handzus was unmarked when he scored 51 seconds into the third against a helpless Jimmy Howard, tying the game.

Bryan Bickell would not let Detroit defenceman Brendan Smith move him away from Howard before he scored to make it 3-2. Howard took Smith's stick and threw it into the corner.

Michael Frolik's backhander on a penalty shot at the 9:43 mark put the Blackhawks ahead 4-2 and became the first player to score two goals from penalty shots in the play-offs.

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