Blackhawks-Red Wings Preview
GAME: Chicago Blackhawks (11-22-7-5) at Detroit Red Wings (26-13-4-2).
TIME: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
The Detroit Red Wings are winning so often that two straight losses should
be considered a slump.
The Red Wings try to avoid losing three in a row for only the second time
this season when they take on the struggling Chicago Blackhawks at Joe Louis
Detroit had won four straight before losing back-to-back games to the Boston
Bruins. The Red Wings scored 19 goals during the win streak but have managed
just one in the two defeats, falling 3-0 at home last Wednesday before
Saturday's 2-1 overtime loss at Boston.
The consecutive losses are the first for the Wings since a season-high
three-game slide from Oct. 25-30. They still lead the league with 26 victories.
Detroit took a 1-0 lead into the third period Saturday before Pavel Datsyuk
was ejected with a game misconduct, allowing the Bruins to score the equalizer
on the power play.
Boston's Joe Thornton beat Curtis Joseph with 2:20 left in overtime to hand
Detroit just its second defeat in 11 overtime games this season.
"With a five-minute major, you can really get yourself in a lot of
trouble," Detroit coach Dave Lewis said. "We lose our best player for 18
minutes and they have a five-minute penalty and they get the goal."
Datsyuk, the team's top scorer, was held without a point for a season-high
fourth straight game.
Joseph stopped 33 shots for Detroit in his third straight start. He'll
likely be in net again with Dominik Hasek still sidelined by a groin injury.
Joseph is 8-4-1 with a 1.90 goals-against average and .924 save percentage
since being called up from the minors on Dec. 10.
While Joseph has provided a steadying influence in net, the Blackhawks
desperately need one. They have surrendered 24 goals in losing four of five,
including Monday's 7-4 defeat to the St. Louis Blues.
Chicago goaltender Michael Leighton got the hook 5:59 into the second period
in favor of Steve Passmore after giving up four goals on 16 shots. Passmore
also faced 16 shots and gave up two scores.
The Blackhawks are two away from matching the longest road losing streak in
team history at 16 games. They are 0-13-0-1 away from home since winning 2-1 at
Nashville on Nov. 7.
"I don't care where we're playing," Passmore said. "We're trying to climb
the ladder in the standings and we need wins. Where we play doesn't matter. We
don't think about that. You guys do."