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Blackhawks, Red Wings rekindle rivalry in Chicago

by Brian Hedger

RED WINGS (30-23-13) at BLACKHAWKS (38-15-14)


Last 10: Detroit 5-4-1; Chicago 5-5-0

Season series: This is the second game between the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks, two Original Six teams that were divisional rivals in the Western Conference until realignment last summer. Detroit won 5-4 in a six-round shootout Jan. 22 at Joe Louis Arena.

Big story: The Blackhawks have lost two games in a row, five of their previous eight, and remain locked in a battle for positioning in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Colorado Avalanche, who sit in second place in the Central Division, one point ahead of Chicago.

The Red Wings have been hindered by injuries and recently lost forward Todd Bertuzzi (lower body). But they still picked up two big points at home Friday night by beating the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 in a shootout. Detroit remains outside the top eight in the Eastern Conference and is looking to make the postseason for a 23rd straight season.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: Bertuzzi is the latest to leave the lineup, joining Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Stephen Weiss, Darren Helm, Jonas Gustavsson and Tomas Jurco. Regardless of the injuries, the Red Wings remain focused on their playoff push as they head into the stretch run of the regular season.

"It's been 22 [years] in a row now and we're trying to get into the playoffs 23 in a row," forward Gustav Nyquist said. "That's what we do here in Detroit and that's what our expectations are every year. Right now we're in the playoff hunt with a lot of different teams and it's going to be a race right down to the end."

Nyquist is one of a number of prospects who have earned more playing time as injuries have piled up. That group includes Luke Glendening, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan and Teemu Pulkkinen, who made his NHL debut against Edmonton.

Blackhawks: Coach Joel Quenneville cut right to the point following a 3-2 loss Friday at home against the Nashville Predators, saying he wasn't happy with his team's game. He followed that by scheduling a late-morning practice Saturday that lasted 30 minutes but was spirited.

"I don't think [Quenneville's] very happy and I don't think we're very happy either," forward Patrick Sharp said. "A lot of the things that are costing us games are preventable. It's up to us players to apply what [Quenneville's] talking about in practice and meetings into the games."

Chicago could have forward Marian Hossa back in the lineup. Hossa has missed five games with an upper-body injury but said he'll likely play against Detroit.

Who's hot: Sheahan has five goals and 12 points in 22 games since taking over in the middle of Detroit's second line. He had the lone regulation goal Friday. … Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has seven goals and an assist in his past six games.

Injury report: Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (rotator cuff surgery) is expected to miss the rest of the season. ... Zetterberg (back surgery) is out for the regular season, and Datsyuk (knee) is being shelved for a couple more weeks. Forwards Weiss (sports hernia), Helm (concussion) and Bertuzzi (lower body) are day-to-day. Also out are goalie Gustavsson (groin) and forwards Joakim Andersson (broken foot), Daniel Cleary (knee) and Mikael Samuelsson (shoulder).

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