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Close games hallmark of Wings-Blackhawks series

Friday, 04.06.2012 / 11:11 AM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Close games hallmark of Wings-Blackhawks series
All five games between Detroit and Chicago this season have been one-goal games, making this week's NBC Game of the Week all the more intriguing.

The Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks will renew their fierce rivalry Saturday at Joe Louis Arena in the regular-season finale on NBC's NHL Game of the Week (1 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN2).

The Blackhawks took a 3-0-2 lead in the season series following a 2-1 victory in Detroit on March 4 -- the fifth one-goal game between the teams this season.

No team has more home wins than Detroit's 31 this season and the club will look to add to that total, and in the process, even up its six-game series and head into the Stanley Cup Playoffs on a positive note. The Wings have lost three of their past five games.

Duncan Keith
Duncan Keith
Defense - CHI
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 36 | PTS: 40
SOG: 159 | +/-: 16
Meanwhile, Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith returned to the lineup Thursday after serving his five-game suspension, but the Hawks lost their second straight game via the shootout, 2-1 to the Minnesota Wild. Despite that fact, Chicago has earned points in 12 of its last 13 games, during which they've gone 8-1-4. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who hasn't played since Feb. 19 because of a concussion, is questionable for Saturday's game. However, Chicago is 12-5-4 in the 21 games Toews has missed, including 2-0-0 against the Red Wings.

Here's a capsule look at the season series to date:

Dec. 30 at Chicago | Chicago 3, Detroit 2

The Hawks took the first meeting in front of 22,166 at the United Center in a game that was as close to a playoff-like atmosphere as you can get in the regular season. Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook scored the game-winner 1:52 into the third period, snapping a 2-2 tie.

Corey Crawford picked up the win with 26 saves, while Jimmy Howard (25 saves) took the loss for the Wings. Toews and former Red Wing Marian Hossa each scored goals in the win. Justin Abdelkader and Todd Bertuzzi scored for the Wings.

Jan. 8 at Chicago | Detroit 3, Chicago 2 (OT)

Pavel Datsyuk scored 3:08 into overtime, firing a wrist shot that banked into the net off Chicago defenseman Nick Leddy.

Dave Bolland and Patrick Sharp had given the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead in the opening five minutes of the first period, but Valtteri Filppula pulled Detroit within 2-1 at the 13:29 mark of the first, and then Danny Cleary evened the score 15:15 into the third. Ty Conklin made 29 saves for the Wings and Crawford stopped 24 shots for the Hawks.

Todd Bertuzzi
Todd Bertuzzi
Right Wing - DET
GOALS: 14 | ASST: 24 | PTS: 38
SOG: 115 | +/-: 24
Jan. 14 at Detroit | Detroit 3, Chicago 2 (OT)

Todd Bertuzzi scored his second of the game 4:21 into overtime to give the Wings the victory at Joe Louis Arena.

Detroit opened a first-period 2-0 lead on goals by Tomas Holmstrom and Bertuzzi before the Blackhawks pulled even on goals from rookie Andrew Shaw and Toews. Howard made 25 saves for the Red Wings and Crawford turned aside 40 shots for Chicago.

Feb. 21 at Chicago | Chicago 2, Detroit 1

Despite playing without Toews, the Blackhawks won their fourth straight game as Chicago rookie forward Jimmy Hayes led the way with a goal and an assist. Marcus Kruger scored the game-winning goal early in the third period by putting home the rebound of Hayes' wraparound attempt.

Filppula scored 2:22 into the first to give Detroit a 1-0 lead. Crawford stopped 31 shots for the Blackhawks and Howard made 27 saves for the Wings.

March 4 at Detroit | Chicago 2, Detroit 1

Chicago's Ray Emery started in goal and made 23 saves to pick up his third straight victory, led by goals from Sharp and Patrick Kane. Kane's goal snapped a 1-1 tie 18:41 into the second period off an assist from Sharp. Niklas Kronwall scored the lone goal for the Red Wings.

Backup goalie Joey MacDonald (12 saves) replaced Howard to start the second and played well in defeat. The loss snapped MacDonald's winning streak at seven games.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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