Chicago go ahead in the series after a miracle come-from-behind victory.
Brett Seabrook scored 3:35 into overtime to give Chicago a 2-1 victory over Detroit as the Blackhawks stormed back from a 3-1 deficit to win their quarter-final series in seven games.
Defenceman Seabrook collected a loose puck in the neutral zone then carried it into the Red Wings end before firing a wrist shot that beat Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard to the glove side. Seabrook’s shot appeared to change direction slightly after it hit the left leg of Red Wings defenceman Niklas Kronwall.
“I was just trying to step up. The coach has been telling us defence to jump into the play. I felt like I got a lot of room and I just tried to shoot it,” Seabrook said.
Chicago advances to the semi-finals to face the defending National Hockey League champion Los Angeles Kings, who also needed a game seven to punch their ticket by beating the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.
Chicago opens their Western Conference series against the Kings on Saturday at home.
The Hawks or Kings will meet the winner of the other semi-final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins for the Stanley Cup title. Their best-of-seven series also gets underway on Saturday.
After taking game one, Chicago lost three straight to the seventh-seeded Red Wings to trail 3-1 in the series.
But Chicago fought back recording a 4-1 win at home ice in game five and then tied the series at 3-3 with Monday’s 4-3 victory on the road.
Dave Bolland helped spring Seabrook free on the winner by placing a big hit on Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist. That opened up the middle of the ice for former Lethbridge Hurricane Seabrook who moved the puck quickly towards the Detroit goal then got the fortunate bounce off Kronwall.
Seabrook said he wasn’t aiming for any particular spot on Howard just trying to see if he could force the Detroit goaltender to make a save.
“Kronwall is like me, he likes to block a lot of pucks so I was just trying to get it past him,” Seabrook said.
The goal was almost justice for a controversial call by game official Stephen Walkom late in the third period that disallowed an apparent Blackhawks’ goal by Niklas Hjalmarsson.
Trailing the play and seeing two players fall to the ice in front of the Detroit bench, Walkom blew his whistle quickly with 1:49 left in regulation and called co-incidental penalties just as Hjalmarsson was up ice beating Howard with a high slap shot.
Chicago protested the call on the grounds they had possession and were in the middle of a scoring chance but to no avail, setting the stage for Seabrook’s dramatic overtime winner.
Seabrook said by the time overtime began they were no longer thinking of Walkom’s call.
“We forgot about that. We were excited and looking forward to getting the overtime started,” Seabrook said.
Howard had been Detroit’s best player in the series but on Wednesday ‘Hawks goalie Corey Crawford matched him with a superb 26-save performance.
“All our guys are just as tired. It was a heck of an effort by everyone,” Crawford said.
This was just the third game seven between the two Original Six clubs and the first one since 1965. Chicago also won that game seven in the semi-finals.