The Blackhawks proved they're ready for prime time.
Playing the Central Division-leading Detroit Red Wings in the first of seven televised home games this season, the Hawks showed 19,045 fans at the United Center and the home viewing audience how far they've come with a 3-2 victory Sunday night.
"It's been a great scenario for us, and we pulled it off," said veteran center Robert Lang, who assisted on the first two goals. "The first TV game and especially against the Wings, the much-hated Wings, and we played a great game."
Detroit came into town riding a nine-game winning streak, but the Hawks beat the Wings for the third straight time this season.
"It's nice to beat the team that was on a hot streak like the Wings," said Lang, who played for Detroit the last two seasons. "Probably at the moment the best team in the league, and they came into our arena really smoking hot, confident and playing great hockey, and we were able to put them away."
Yanic Perreault scored the Hawks' first goal after Lang attempted a wrap-around shot on Wings goalie Chris Osgood. The rebound found Perreault between the circles, and he put in a forehand for his third goal of the season at 12 minutes 28 seconds of the first period.
The Blackhawks took a 2-0 lead on the power play when Lang sent a pass through the slot to Patrick Kane, and the rookie one-timed it past Osgood with 4:51 left in the period.
"Langer took his time and fed me a nice soft pass over, and I just had to tap it in," Kane said. "I'll take that any day of the week. They're the best team in the league, and when we can come out and get three straight wins against them ... that gives us some confidence."
Detroit cut the deficit to 2-1 on a Jiri Hudler goal with 3:50 remaining in the second period, but rookie Jonathan Toews' power-play goal 2:15 later halted the momentum. Toews took a pass from Jason Williams and fired a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot for his seventh goal of the season.
"It's always a confidence-builder to beat a team like that," Toews said. "We're getting a lot of scoring from different guys across the board. Everyone is chipping in one way or another. We're playing winning hockey."
Nicklas Lidstrom scored his second goal of the season with 6:15 to go in the third period to make it 3-2, but the Hawks and goalie Nikolai Khabibulin held off the Red Wings the rest of the way.
Khabibulin, who didn't play the last two games after hitting a rough stretch, was outstanding, making 30 saves.
"He had great practices [last week], and he hasn't played bad — he's been pretty good," Hawks coach Denis Savard said. "[Sunday night] he was better than pretty good. He was outstanding."
Special teams also keyed the victory. In addition to the two power-play goals, they killed off five Detroit man advantages. The Red Wings came into the game with the NHL's fifth-best power play, scoring on 23.4 percent of their chances.
"Special teams again came through," Savard said. "It's a tough team to kill against. They're going to get chances."
The Hawks have won three straight games and five of their last six as they embark on a six-game trip beginning Wednesday night in Columbus.
"I'm happy for our fans, happy for our players and happy for the people who were here," Savard said. "I think they saw an exciting game, and I'm sure the people at home also saw an exciting game. We'd like to have them aboard with us and come on down. It's fun."Copyright © 2015, CT Now