COMMENTARY | For their sake, the Detroit Red Wings better hope the third time is the charm.
The Red Wings failed to close out the Chicago Blackhawks for the second straight time as Chicago won 4-3 in Game 6 on Monday, May 27 to tie their best-of-seven series at 3-3.
The Red Wings held a 2-1 lead going into the third period, but they would lose that lead just one minute into the final period and never regain it.
Brendan Smith got burned twice
It's been a roller-coaster season -- and series -- for Brendan Smith. In his first full season with the Red Wings, he has shown glimpses of being a solid NHL defenseman and, at the same time, he has shown that he still has a lot to learn.
Smith was responsible for goals No. 2 and 3 that the Blackhawks scored, both of which were rookie mistakes.
Michal Handzus' goal, which was scored just 51 seconds into the third period to tie the game at 2-2, was the epitome of a defensive breakdown. Smith wandered into the corner to help retrieve the puck instead of taking his man in front of the net. Handzus, after receiving a pass from Niklas Hjalmarsson, had all day to shoot on Jimmy Howard.
The second one on Smith's watch happened because he failed to tie up Bryan Bickell in front of the net. Instead of tying Bickell up, he tried to intercept the pass from Jonathan Toews and missed.
Smith has a lot of promise to live up to being the 27th overall pick in 2007. He's still getting his feet wet in the NHL, but it's unfortunate for him he doesn't get to learn under the tutelage of a future Hall of Famer like Nicklas Lidstrom.
The penalty shot call was chintzy
Chintzy was the only word I could come up with to describe the penalty shot call made on Michael Frolik's breakaway.
Did Carlo Colaiacovo slash Frolik? Technically, yes. I'd call it more of a love tap but, technically, it's a slash. But I've see much worse not called. Colaiacovo should have gotten a 2-minute penalty. Nothing more, nothing less.
While the penalty shot ended up being the game-winning goal. It wasn't the sole reason the Red Wings lost. Detroit got absolutely manhandled in the final period, except for the final 51 seconds.
You can't let a team like the Blackhawks gain any sort of momentum. They are too dangerous and will make you pay for your mistakes.
There is pressure on both teams for Game 7
Despite winning the past two games to force a Game 7, the Blackhawks have just as much pressure to win as the Red Wings do. If Chicago loses Game 7, its two-game winning streak was for nothing.
The Blackhawks were favored to win this series, and by most people in fewer games. The momentum is obviously with the Blackhawks right now, but anything can happen in Game 7.
The Red Wings already won a Game 7 on the road. Who is to say they can't do it again?
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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