(WGN-AM) - The Blackhawks got themselves right back into the Western Conference finals series with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 on Friday night at the United Center. The win cut the Hawks' deficit in the series to 2-1 with Game 4 scheduled for Sunday afternoon at the UC.
It could be a costly victory, however, as both star winger Martin Havlat and goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin left the game with injuries. Their statuses for Game 4 are unknown.
The Hawks roared to a three-goal lead early in the second period on scores by Patrick Sharp, Andrew Ladd and Sammy Pahlsson before the never-say-die Wings tied it up with an offensive explosion late in the second.
Sharp then scored the game-winner 1 minute 52 seconds into overtime to save the Hawks from facing a 0-3 disadvantage in the best-of-seven series.
"If we're down 3-0 it's as good as over," said Pahlsson, who assisted on the game-winner. "It's a huge hole to climb out of so 2-1 is a big difference. We really needed that win.
"Not only do we know we can beat them, we got one win and we have another home game coming up so we feel good about it. We just have to get another one."
Trailing 3-0, the Wings got goals from Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski and Jonathan Ericsson in the waning minutes of the second to tie it up.
Sharp put the Hawks ahead 1-0 at the 8-minute-45-second mark of the first when he tipped in a Brent Seabrook shot from just inside the blue line. Camped in front of Wings' goaltender Chris Osgood with the Hawks on the power playSharp got a stick on Seabrook's shot for his sixth goal of the postseason.
With the crowd still abuzz, Ladd made it 2-0 just 1:05 later with his third of the playoffs. The veteran winger knocked in a rebound of his own shot from in close past Osgood. Dave Bolland earned his second assist of the night on the goal.
Havlat suffered his injury after a vicious hit by Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall just more than three minutes later and resulted in 19 minutes in penalties, including 15 to Kronwall. The Hawks were forced to play the remainder of the game without their top scorer.
Khabibulin stymied the Wings in the first, including stopping Henrik Zetterberg on a breakaway shortly after Kronwall's penalties.
Despite Havlat's absence, the Hawks extended the lead to 3-0 early in the third on a goal by Pahlsson. Teammate Duncan Keith sent a shot toward Osgood from along the boards by the Wings blue line and Pahlsson got a stick on it to redirect it into the net for his second playoff goal.
After Khabibulin made solid saves on Zetterberg and Darren Helm, the Wings stunned the Hawks and the capacity crowd of 22,678 with three goals in a four-and-a-half-minute span late in the second.
Lidstrom started the onslaught at 14:38 when his shot from the blue line evaded Khabibulin, who was screened by Tomas Holmstrom. The goal came with Bolland in the penalty box for tripping Zetterberg.
The Wings cut the deficit to 3-2 on Rafalski's score at 17:10. The defenseman's long shot went in with another Wings player providing traffic in front of the net, this time Dan Cleary.
With the period winding down, the Wings kept the pedal down and tied it at 3-3 when Ericsson's wrist shot from the top of the right circle sailed past Khabibulin at 19:01.
Khabibulin didn't answer the bell to start the third and Cristobal Huet took over in goal with Corey Crawford on the bench as the new backup.
(The Chicago Tribune contributed to this report)
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