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Observations from Detroit Red Wings’ 4-1 Loss to Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | The Detroit Red Wings simply were outplayed for the majority of their Game 1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, May 15.

The Red Wings played well in the first period as they quickly answered a goal from the Blackhawks to tie the game at 1-1 about midway through the first period.

However, after the first period, the Chicago Blackhawks dominated the rest of the game to take a 1-0 series lead.

Here are some observations from Game 1:

Red Wings giving up too many third-period goals

Not including the two empty-net goals scored against the Red Wings in this year's playoffs, they have given up 13 goals in the third period and scored just five. The closest team to the Red Wings in third-period goals against still in the playoffs is Boston with eight.

This is an alarming statistic as it shows this team hasn't been able to close out games. I realize the Red Wings just got off a brutal seven-game series with the Ducks in which they had to travel three time zones multiple times, but this happened all throughout the Anaheim series as well.

During the regular season, they gave up just 35 third-period goals, tied for third best with Chicago.

The Red Wings will get an extra day of rest before they see the Blackhawks for Game 2 on Saturday, May 18. If they want to come back in this series, they will need to limit the goals against in the third period and get some timely goals of their own.

Blackhawks almost doubled Red Wings' shot total

After the first period in Game 2, the Red Wings held a slim 7-6 advantage in shots. Through the next two periods, the Blackhawks ramped up the intensity and peppered Jimmy Howard with 35 shots.

It wasn't as if the Blackhawks had more power-play opportunities, they just outplayed the Red Wings and gave themselves more quality scoring chances.

The Red Wings only mustered 21 shots as Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford had little work to do in Game 1. They are going to need to throw more shots on the net and get some traffic in front of Crawford in order to be successful.

Jimmy Howard continues to perform

Howard had another fantastic game for the Red Wings. Had it not been for the play of the Red Wings netminder, the score easily could have been 7-1.

Howard is slowly inching closer and closer to that elite category. To see 41 shots and stop 38 of them against a high-powered offense like the Blackhawks is amazing.

Not to mention, the defense didn't do Howard any favors as they had too many turnovers and hung him out to dry on a number of occasions. Howard is making a name for himself as one of the top goalies in the NHL.

The Red Wings face an early deficit in this series, but they also faced an early deficit against the Ducks. The extra day of rest will help the team get back on track.

For whatever reason, the Red Wings can't seem to play their best until they absolutely have to.

Game 2 is a pivotal game. If they can get a split on the road, they have taken home-ice advantage away from the Blackhawks and made it a best-of-five series.

Tom Mitsos is a Michigan native who covers the Detroit Red Wings for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He also is a high school sports reporter at MLive Media Group. You can find Tom on Twitter @tom_mitsos.

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