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Morning Box Score: Winter Classic Wrap-Up

By Matt Motyka in News on Jan 2, 2009 5:30PM

With a final score well suited for the venue, the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 6-4 in Thursday's Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic 2009. The Blackhawks, like the '08 Cubs so often did, jumped out to an early lead. Kris Versteeg put the first run on the board, and Martin Havlat's one timer sent the 'Hawks back in front after Detroit's Mikael Samuelsson tied the score at one apiece. In the final minute of the first period, Ben Eager lured Wing's goaltender Ty Conklin to his right from behind the net, then craftily switched directions and dumped a wrap-around into the left-hand void, making it 3-1 'Hawks. Despite Chicago's furious start, it was all Wings from then on.

Jiri Hudler scored the next two for Detroit, knotting it at three. Pavel Datsyuk then spurted past two defenders and dangled in the go-ahead goal, in what could have been the NHL's first wind-assisted score. Brian Rafalski and Brett Lebda put the game away early in the third, both beating a frustrated Cristobal Huet. The Blackhawks' Duncan Keith managed a goal in the waning seconds, but it amounted to little more than a nice memory for the fourth-year skater.

The weather conditions at Wrigley were near perfect for the event. By all accounts, the ice was in indoor shape. There was no precipitation to impede the puck or obscure the players' vision, yet overcast skies kept the sun away and prevented glare on the exposed ice. Aside from the Blackhawks losing, the event appeared to be a success on every level. The good news is that, regardless of all the fanfare and hype, the Classic didn't count any more than the other regular season games. The bad news is that, with two consecutive losses - both to the Wings - the Blackhawks now find themselves eight points behind Detroit in the standings. Chicago retreats to the United Center to face the Calgary Flames on Sunday, hoping to start a new winning streak.