DETROIT - Mike Babcock revealed the secret formula to the Red Wings playoff success.
It's only one word, but it's layered: change.
Detroit's ability to constantly surprise the Blackhawks with an uptick in energy and physicality has put the Red Wings in the driver's seat of an already heated series.
"We knew they were going to be physical," forward Patrick Eaves said after the Red Wings won Game 3. "We focused on it, yeah."
Sticks, pucks, and science
Newton's third law of motion states ' For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.'
After the Blackhawks used a momentous third period to capture a win in the series opener, they seemed to be in prime position to back up their top seeding.
But the Red Wings response in Game 2 was electric. Every loose puck seemed to end up on a Red Wings stick, every battle was won by a white sweater, and the goals came in a flurry.
Chicago's action in Game 1 was matched by a rested, eager Detroit team in Game 2. That was before the series shifted to Joe Louis Arena Monday night.
Back to Hockeytown
Following the win, the Red Wings prepared for everything. The Blackhawks packed the kitchen sink inside their cannon, and drew first blood in Game 3.
But Babcock's gameplan was obvious from the start. The Red Wings were going to beat up their opponents, frustrate them to a breaking point, and capitalize when Chicago made mistakes.
"I still think they're the best team in the league,'' goaltender Jimmy Howard said, still playing the underdog card.
"Hard work is paying off for us."
Detroit got production from all four lines in Game 3, with Gustav Nyquist and Drew Miller scoring 31 seconds apart in the second period.
"If you're going to go anywhere in the playoffs, you have to have a deep team," Henrik Zetterberg said.
The Red Wings have a plan. It wasn't always clear throughout the season, but all of a sudden, they have a shot at putting the big, bad Blackhawks on the brink of elimination.
That's a different picture than years past, but then again, it's all part of change.
Brad Galli is a Sports Reporter at WXYZ Detroit. Follow Brad on Twitter @BradGalli