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Blackhawks-Red Wings Preview

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Blackhawks-Red Wings Preview

GAME: Chicago Blackhawks (3-8-0) at Detroit Red Wings (11-1-0).

TIME: Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Chicago Blackhawks must be pretty sick of the Detroit Red Wings by now.

With these Central Division rivals facing off for a third straight time, the Red Wings try to match the longest winning streak in their 80-year history and hand the woeful Blackhawks yet another loss.

Chicago was off to a bad enough start, losing six of its first nine games, but then had to play three in a row against a Detroit team which had lost only once. The first two contests have further shown the difference between the clubs, with the Red Wings winning 5-2 at home on Thursday and 4-2 at Chicago on Saturday.

Those victories pushed the Red Wings to 11-1, the best start in franchise history and the best for any team since Pittsburgh opened 11-0-1 in 1994-95. No other team in the league this season has more than eight wins.

"We've got 22 points in October, that's a big deal. The great thing about getting those points is you have them now," first-year Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.

If they can sweep this unusual trio of consecutive contests against Chicago, the Red Wings will run their win streak to nine games. That would equal the franchise record accomplished four times, most recently from March 3-22, 1996.

Manny Legace is likely to be back in net after getting a night off for the first time this season. Chris Osgood made the most of his first start, making 23 saves on Saturday.

"I'm hoping I can play as good as (Legace) can, offset him and give this team the best goaltending they've had in years. That's our goal," Osgood said.

Legace can only hope to be as good in November as he was in October, having set an NHL record for that month with 10 wins. He's one of five netminders with a goals-against average under 2.00.

Chicago was hoping for that kind of performance from its biggest offseason acquisition, Nikolai Khabibulin. Instead, the goalie that led Tampa Bay to the Stanley Cup in 2003-04 has allowed three goals or more in eight of 10 starts.

Khabibulin, in net for both losses to Detroit, has stopped 73 of 86 shots over his last three outings.

The Blackhawks have lost five of six, including four straight on the road. They've given up at least one-power play goal in every game, including four in the losses to Detroit.

Chicago has dropped its last five games at Joe Louis Arena.

STANDINGS: Blackhawks - 6 points, 4th place (tied), 16 PB, Central Division. Red Wings - 22 points, 1st place, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blackhawks - Pavel Vorobiev, 5 goals; Tyler Arnason and Brent Seabrook, 7 assists; Vorobiev and Arnason, 11 points; Todd Simpson, 30 PIM. Red Wings - four with 7 goals; Jason Williams, 11 assists; Henrik Zetterberg, 15 points; Brendan Shanahan, 21 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Blackhawks - Power play: 13.1 percent (10 for 76), 26th in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.4 percent (69 for 88), 22nd. Red Wings - Power play: 27.8 percent (22 for 79), 1st. Penalty killing: 93 percent (67 for 72), 3rd.

GOALTENDERS: Blackhawks - Khabibulin (3-7-0, 0 SO, 3.81 GAA); Craig Anderson (0-1-0, 4.14). Red Wings - Legace (10-1-0, 2, 1.81); Osgood (1-0-0, 2.00).

SEASON SERIES: Red Wings, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Saturday; Red Wings, 4-2. At Chicago, Robert Lang netted the go-ahead goal with 15:21 to play.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blackhawks - 1-5-0 on the road; Red Wings - 5-1-0 at home.


Associated Press
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