The Detroit Red Wings have the best record in the Western Conference, but it's not because of their play against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Red Wings will try to avoid a third straight loss overall as they look for their first win in four games this season against the Blackhawks when the Original Six rivals meet Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Detroit went 14-0-2 against Chicago the last two seasons, but is 0-2-1 this year, including a 3-2 road loss on Sunday to snap its franchise-tying nine-game winning streak.
Chicago (10-8-1) has not won four in a row over Detroit (13-4-1) since taking five straight meetings in 1985-86.
"They're a complete team now," Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood said of the Blackhawks. "They don't have to just rely on their goaltender anymore."
Chicago, which is also looking to avoid a third straight loss, won 3-2 at Detroit on Oct. 12 to hand the Red Wings their only defeat in eight home games.
Detroit fell 4-3 at St. Louis on Tuesday. The Red Wings led 2-0, but the Blues scored four times in the second period, prompting Detroit coach Mike Babcock to pull goalie Dominik Hasek after allowing four goals on 12 shots.
"It's disappointing," Babcock said. "Let's not kid ourselves. We're up 2-0, we're on the road in our division. You've got to find a way to keep on going."
To make matters worse, the Red Wings were forced to spend the night in St. Louis after the wheels on the team's jet got stuck in the grass and mud at a St. Louis area airport. There were no injuries, but the team spent much of its off day on Wednesday in St. Louis.
That likely shouldn't affect the Red Wings, who are looking for their fifth straight win at home.
Henrik Zetterberg had his 17-game point streak snapped Tuesday. The veteran winger is among the league leaders with 13 goals and 14 assists, and his streak was the longest since Ottawa's Dany Heatley recorded a point in his first 22 games to start the 2005-06 season.
Zetterberg has a goal and four assists versus Chicago this season.
Hasek, who began his career with Chicago in 1990, could be back in goal Saturday after having his three-game win streak snapped. Hasek is 10-6-1 with two ties against the Blackhawks, but has dropped both meetings this season.
The Blackhawks, who are six points behind Detroit in the Central Division, lost 5-4 in overtime at Nashville on Thursday to fall to 0-1-1 on their six-game road trip.
Though Chicago couldn't hold on to a 3-1 third-period lead, former Red Wing Jason Williams forced overtime when he scored with less than a minute to play in regulation.
"Obviously, we are disappointed that we let a victory get away," said Williams, who also added an assist and had two against Detroit on Sunday.
Rookie Jonathan Toews scored his team-leading eighth goal and fellow first-year standout Patrick Kane added an assist Thursday for Chicago, which has not won since beating Detroit last weekend.
Two of the NHL's rising stars, Toews and Kane have combined for two goals and four assists against Detroit this season.
"They play us well," said Detroit's Niklas Lidstrom, who has two goals versus Chicago this season. "Their kids play hard and are good with the puck."
Nikolai Khabibulin made 32 saves against Nashville and is expected to start Saturday. He is 3-0-0 with a 2.27 goals-against average in three starts against Detroit this season.