CHICAGO - Johnny Oduya and Marcus Kruger scored in the third period, Corey Crawford made 20 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 in the opener of their second-round playoff series Wednesday night.
Chicago dominated the final two periods in its first game in the Western Conference semifinals since it won the Stanley Cup in 2010. Marian Hossa scored the opening goal, and Patrick Sharp had an empty-netter and two assists to give him nine points in the playoffs.
Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard finished with 38 stops in a terrific performance, but the Red Wings still lost to rival Chicago for the eighth straight time dating to last season.
The series resumes Saturday afternoon at the United Center.
The 75th all-time playoff game between the Blackhawks and Red Wings was tied at 1 after two periods, and Howard made a great stop on a breakaway by Dave Bolland 4 1/2 minutes into the third.
Chicago kept working and went in front to stay on a heady play by Oduya. He drifted in from the point and sent Sharp's pass past Howard on the glove side with 12 minutes left. Kruger then jumped on a loose puck and sent a backhander into the upper right corner to make it 3-1.
That was more than enough for Crawford, who caught a break when Damien Brunner's rebound attempt went off the crossbar and straight down before it was swept away with about three minutes left.
The opener of the 16th playoff series between the Original Six teams was the first game for Chicago since it eliminated Minnesota last Thursday. Detroit closed out Anaheim with a 3-2 win in Game 7 on Sunday night, taking the final two games of the series against the second-seeded Ducks.
Despite the long break, there was no sign of rust for the Blackhawks.