(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks will try to record their first
three-game winning streak in over a month when they visit the Detroit Red
Wings on Wednesday in a clash between Original Six rivals at Joe Louis Arena.
The Blackhawks recently went 3-0-1 on a four-game homestand and closed the
stay in the Windy City with consecutive victories against Anaheim and Boston.
It marked the first time Chicago had won two in a row since Dec. 23-27 and the
club hasn't registered three straight victories since Dec. 8-11.
This evening's clash marks the first of two scheduled meetings this season
between the Blackhawks and Red Wings, who are old rivals but no longer play in
the same conference due to the onset of realignment.
Detroit, which will visit Chicago on March 16 to complete the season series,
has lost seven straight regular-season games against the Blackhawks. Chicago
also ousted the Red Wings from the playoffs last spring, winning the final
three games of the best-of-seven series to come back from a three-games-to-one
deficit to take the second-round set.
The Blackhawks, of course, went on to win their second Stanley Cup title in
four years after overcoming the seventh-seeded Red Wings.
After beating the Ducks by a 4-2 score on Friday, Chicago posted Sunday's 3-2
shootout win over the Boston Bruins in a rematch of last spring's Stanley Cup
Finals. Patrick Kane scored the winner in the shootout after going 0-for-9 for
the season in the penalty-shot segment before Sunday.
On the final attempt of the shootout, Kane skated down the middle and slowed
up before picking his shot and burying a wrister past Tuukka Rask for the win.
Marian Hossa and Brandon Bollig scored for the Blackhawks in regulation, while
Corey Crawford stopped 34 shots in the win.
"I thought the pace of this game was quick and it didn't stop," said Chicago
head coach Joel Quenneville. "They're a great team and they can really wear
you down. I thought the guys did a good job of standing them up."
Chicago now embarks on a road-heavy portion of its schedule, as it will play
two straight and nine of its next 10 away from United Center. The Blackhawks,
who are 14-5-4 as the guest, will visit Minnesota tomorrow evening before
playing their final home game before the Winter Olympics break in Sunday's
test against visiting Winnipeg.
Detroit, meanwhile, lost for the third time in four games in Monday's 4-1
setback against the visiting St. Louis Blues. The Red Wings, who are already
battling a ton of injuries, also lost goaltender Jimmy Howard to a knee injury
in Monday's defeat.
Howard expects to miss at least a week of action with fluid in his knee,
meaning backup Jonas Gustavsson will take over the bulk of the goaltending
duties in his absence. Gustavsson had been dealing with a groin injury of his
own, but is ready to start on Wednesday.
Jaroslav Halak stopped 22 shots to help the Blues subdue the Red Wings and
drop Detroit to 7-11-7 as the host this season. Howard started the game in net
for Detroit but left halfway through the second period. He had allowed three
goals on 25 shots. Petr Mrazek took over and gave up a goal on 14 shots.
"They were better in all areas of the game tonight," said Detroit head coach
Mike Babcock. "But I don't want the guys focusing on this because our game
lately has been very good."
Gustav Nyquist scored the only goal of the game for Detroit, which is dealing
with injuries to several key players, including forward Pavel Datsyuk. The
Russian star will miss an eighth straight game on Wednesday with a lower-body
injury, and fellow forwards Daniel Alfredsson (back) and Joakim Andersson
(lower body) are also out.
In addition to Datsyuk, Alfredsson and Andersson, forwards Johan Franzen
(head) and Darren Helm (groin/shoulder) are expected to miss Wednesday's tilt.
However, defenseman Jonathan Ericsson could return tonight for the first time
since injuring his ribs on Dec. 23.
Detroit is in the midst of a five-game homestand and will continue the stay at
the Joe on Friday against Montreal before completing the residency in Sunday's
test against Florida.
The Sports Network