Huet

Huet

The Chicago Blackhawks paid their two goaltenders more than $12 million this season, so they might as well put them both to work in the postseason. And having two world-class netminders worked in the ‘Hawks’ favor last night, as Cristobal Huet replaced an injured Nikolai Khabibulin before the third period of Game 3 of the Western Conference finals and held down the fort until Patrick Sharp could score the game-winner in a 4-3 overtime victory over Detroit.

Chicago still trails the series, 2-1, but Game 4 is on the ‘Hawks’ home ice Sunday.

Huet, who stopped all six shots he faced, made his hard work in practice pay off. And then Sharp was able to capitalize when Red Wings blueliner Niklas Lidstrom’s stick broke and he couldn’t clear the puck. Instead Samuel Pahlsson fed it over to Sharp, who had tons of space to shoot at for his second goal of the night.

So the ‘Hawks are back in the series, despite losing Khabibulin and Martin Havlat to injury. Havlat was knocked out by a Niklas Kronwall hit that earned the Detroit defenseman a game misconduct. The Wings are holding to the idea that it was a clean hit, and they’re probably right. But, as usual, the result was penalized more than the actual act. Havlat had to leave the game, so the referees chased Kronwall too.

I didn’t think we could have a Detroit-Chicago playoff series without some questionable physical play and controversy, and sure enough both elements have now arrived.