DETROIT — In the Chicago Blackhawks’ minds, it was the turning point of Game 3 — an eventual 3-1 Detroit Red Wings win.
For the Red Wings, it was only fair.
With the Wings leading 2-0 in the third period Monday night, Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson knocked Johan Franzen down along the boards in the Blackhawks’ end.
While Franzen lay crumpled to the ice, the Blackhawks were headed the other way, with an odd-man rush.
That rush resulted in Patrick Kane’s goal, which beat Jimmy Howard five-hole at 4:35, cutting Detroit’s lead to 2-1.
The Wings were livid that no penalty was called on Hjalmarsson.
“It should have been a two-minute penalty,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “This is the way I look at it. Those referees are trying to get to the Stanley Cup Final like the rest of us and it’s fast.
“When I watch the replay and see it, it’s a penalty. They don’t get to watch the replay.”
Just over a minute later, Viktor Stalberg, playing in his first game of the series, appeared to have scored the tying goal. But the referees waved it off, saying that Andrew Shaw was in the crease.
“Most of the time, they’re going to let that one go, especially when you get pushed in there and he doesn’t even touch the goalie,” Stalberg said. “If he trips the goalie or makes contact or anything, I think that’s an easier call.
“Obviously, it’s a tough call for us at that time in the game when we’re really pushing the pace.”
The Wings seemed to gain momentum from the call, and Pavel Datsyuk scored at 6:46, giving the Wings a 3-1 lead.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was not a fan of the call.
“I disagree with the call,” Quenneville said. “He didn’t touch the goalie.
“We were 2-2. We had two and had the momentum and had everything going . . . Obviously, coming back 2-0 that quickly, you’re in a great spot. Then they scored.”
Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said he wasn’t down at that end of the ice when it happened.
“I find it hard to believe, from what I saw, that our player restricted the goaltender from making a save,” Toews said. “The puck came from the same side and he was against his post. I don’t understand that one, but I guess we’ll see the replay.
“Either way, when you get a goal called back, it’s a frustrating thing.”
Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford was even more succinct.
“I think that’s the first time that I’ve seen ‘in the crease’ called since since about 2000,” Crawford said.