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Desperate Red Wings need win vs. Blackhawks

by Mike Battaglino /

RED WINGS (19-16-5) at BLACKHAWKS (30-5-4)


Last 10: Detroit 5-5-0; Chicago 6-3-1

Season series: This is the fourth and final meeting. The Chicago Blackhawks won the first two, each by a score of 2-1, one in overtime and one in a shootout during their 24-game points streak to open the season. They also won 7-1 at Joe Louis Arena on March 31.

"We all know how disappointed they're going to be about the last game we had, especially since it happened in their building," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews told the team's website Thursday. "We have to have to expect them to come back and want to get a little revenge on us."

Big story: The Detroit Red Wings have made the Stanley Cup Playoffs 21 seasons in a row and enter this game holding eighth place in the Western Conference, two points ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes. Chicago clinched its spot Sunday and holds a five-point lead over the Anaheim Ducks for the top seed in the West, with two games in hand.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: Detroit might be looking forward to the start of this four-game road trip, despite the difficult opponent. The Red Wings have lost five of their past six home games, including a 3-2 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.

"We'd like to have two points, we got one point, we've got another game [Friday], let's get on the flight, get something in us and get ready to go," coach Mike Babcock said.

Detroit has two goals or fewer in regulation in four straight and six of seven games.

"We just have to find a way to score more goals," captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "I think we've created enough chances but we can't really finish it off."

Forward Pavel Datsyuk used humor when asked to explain why the scoring has been down lately.

"You need to ask the goalies," Datsyuk deadpanned. "They do the poor job. They make fun of our fans, come to watch only one or two goals. We need to ask the goalies why they do this."

Blackhawks: Chicago will start Corey Crawford in goal Friday after Ray Emery won three in a row, including two 1-0 victories.

The Blackhawks close the season with three sets of three games in four nights.

"They're both going to play," coach Joel Quenneville said of his rotation at practice Thursday. "Corey's done very well against Detroit (3-0-0, 0.96, .969). Both goalies have played well all year long. We're making decisions from strength and it gets him back in there as well."

Quenneville has not revealed who will be his go-to goalie in the playoffs.

"I think in the past a lot of times that decision is always made for you; it's clear who's going to be the guy," Quenneville said. "This year, I can honestly say that both guys definitely get strong consideration based on their performance. So I think we're in a position where we'll just see how it goes right now. Without showing our hand, both guys will continue to do what they're doing and we'll be in a real nice situation."

Quenneville also will have lineup calls to make as his roster returns to health. Forward Patrick Sharp (shoulder) returned in a road win against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, and forward Dave Bolland (lower body) will not play Friday but has been practicing.

"It's nice to see everybody out there," Quenneville said. "You can see the competition in practice. The pace was really good as well. Everybody likes playing, and we'll have some tough decisions as we go along here. But certainly it'll be nice to look at the lines that you forecast, you'd like to try going into the playoffs."

Who's hot: Zetterberg has nine points in his past 11 games. … Toews has eight points in his past six games. Forward Patrick Kane, without a point Tuesday, has been scoreless in consecutive games once all season.

Injury report: Red Wings forwards Darren Helm (back) and Mikael Samuelsson (upper body) are out. Rookie forward Damien Brunner returned to the lineup after missing three games with a sore hip flexor. … Bolland has missed three games since April 4, after aggravating an injury possibly suffered blocking a shot April 1.

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