CHICAGO -- Detroit coach Mike Babcock hoped to steal a win in one of the first two games of the Western Conference semifinal series against the host Chicago Blackhawks.
While his team failed to do so in the series opener on Wednesday, the Red Wings committed nothing short of grand larceny in Game 2, beating the Blackhawks, 4-1, in a Saturday matinee at the United Center.
Brendan Smith's goal at 16:08 of the second period proved to be the actual game-winner for the Red Wings, breaking a 1-1 tie and eventually leading to the series being tied at one game apiece.
Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula added third period goals as the Red Wings dominated Chicago in almost the same way that the Blackhawks dominated Detroit in the opening game of the series, also by a 4-1 score.
To illustrate Detroit's dominance, the Red Wings outshot Chicago 30-20. It was one of Chicago's worst showings this season.
The series moves to Detroit for Game 3 on Monday and Game 4 on Thursday. Game 5 will be back in Chicago on Saturday, May 25. If needed, Game 6 would be back in Detroit on May 27, and the finale would be May 29 in Chicago.
Detroit took its first lead of the series at 16:08 of the second period when captain Henrik Zetterberg found Smith open, with Smith lifting a wrister past Chicago goalie Corey Crawford to make it a 2-1 Wings' advantage.
The Red Wings outshot the Blackhawks, 8-5, in the second period, making it a 20-13 advantage over Chicago in the first two periods.
Smith added the insurance goal as the Red Wings assured that the series would go at least to five games, if not longer.
Crawford, who has been nothing short of outstanding in the postseason thus far, gave up three (or more) goals to the Red Wings for the first time in six meetings this season (four regular season and two playoffs).
The Blackhawks opened the scoring at 14:05 of the first period on the first goal of the playoffs by regular season co-scoring leader Patrick Kane.
Patrick Sharp passed to Bryan Bickell, who laid off to the adjacent Kane, who slammed a wrist shot past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard for the tally.
Detroit tied the game early at 2:40 of the second period when Damien Brunner scored his fourth goal of the playoffs, deking around Chicago goalie Crawford.
After being outshot, 42-20, and outscored, 4-1, in Game 1, the Red Wings came out significantly more aggressive and physical in Game 2. They quickly jumped on Crawford, outshooting the Blackhawks, 7-2, in the first 10 minutes of play.
Fortunately for Chicago, Crawford stopped all shots, although two tricklers came close to getting away from him and finding their way into the net.
The Red Wings outshot the Blackhawks in the first period, 12-8.
NOTES: Coming into Saturday's game, the Blackhawks were 5-0-0 vs. Detroit in 2013, including regular season and playoff games. ... Right wing Viktor Stalberg appears to still be in the doghouse of Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, as he was benched for the second straight game. According to various media reports, the feud stems from Stalberg complaining about a lack of playing time in the opening playoff series against Minnesota. Quenneville has not publicly addressed the issue with the media, but Stalberg still sitting speaks volumes in and of itself. ... Attendance was 21,822. ... Detroit is in its 22nd consecutive season of making the playoffs, from 1991 to the present. It is the longest active streak in professional sports. ... Detroit has the most victories in the NHL in the regular season (818) and playoffs (110) since 1997-98.