Red Wings survive and thrive in lengthy penalty kill
DETROIT — In the playoffs, you have to keep your shifts short — unless you can't.
The Detroit Red Wings found that out the hard way early in the second period of Monday night's 3-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Defenseman Brendan Smith took a holding penalty, so the Wings' penalty killers headed out — and seemingly never came back off the ice.
Despite killing off the penalty without allowing a shot, the Wings couldn't get the puck out of the zone, no matter how hard they tried.
Drew Miller, in his second game back since returning from a broken hand, and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson each played 3 minutes, 15 seconds.
"I’d like to forget that one," Miller said. "It was a long one. When you get stuck on the penalty kill there, it’s tough to get off.
"You try and stay tight. Guys were blocking shots, and Jimmy (Howard) made some big saves for us. The key is just to survive it and get off the ice as fast as you can, when you can."
Ericsson said he found a second wind.
"I was more tired like after a minute and a half, two minutes and then I kind of recharged my batteries because I was standing still for like 15 seconds, could get some deep breaths and kind of get going again," Ericsson said. "I could have stayed out a little bit longer."
Ericsson's defense partner, Niklas Kronwall, was on the ice for 2:46. Patrick Eaves was out there for 2:15.
"I was very aware and so were my lungs, and my legs were very aware," Eaves said. "You don’t want to be a part of those shifts, but that’s what you train all summer for.
"I didn’t think that they got too great of scoring chances on it."
Miller, who was credited with four blocked shots, most of them on that penalty kill, certainly earned the respect of his teammates, as did the other three winded warriors.
"Just gassed out there," Howard said. "Just thinking you gotta get a whistle, and we were able to do that."