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Kane ties it late, gets shootout winner for Blackhawks

by Brian Hedger

DETROIT -- It's starting to feel like the Chicago Blackhawks won't lose a game in regulation the rest of the season.

Just when it seemed the Detroit Red Wings might be the first team to defeat Chicago in 60 minutes of hockey, Patrick Kane buried a quick shot to cap a power play with 2:02 left in regulation to send an exciting rivalry game into overtime Sunday at Joe Louis Arena.

It then went to a shootout, which was decided by Kane, who used his patented slow-down, multiple-deke move to beat Jimmy Howard and give Chicago a 2-1 victory, extending their season-starting point streak to 22 games.

"It was a good faceoff, a good start to the power play," Kane said of his tying goal. "I know we were thinking about taking a timeout there and we ended up just going and thinking 'Maybe they'll take [a timeout] into the power play,' and we ended up scoring. So it worked out perfect."

The goal was Kane's 11th of the season, and it assured the Blackhawks (19-0-3) of at least a point, a string of 28 games in a row dating to last season.

"Normally in a game situation, you're just thinking about winning that game and continuing that game," Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said. "It seems like the longer this thing goes, the more it's creeping in -- especially being down in the last [part of the third] like that. That goal was a little bit bigger than just any game-tying goal. It was a good feeling on the ice."

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford, who finished with 32 saves in regulation and overtime, stopped three Detroit shootout attempts, including Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg to end it.

Kane's regulation goal was a perfect example of how Chicago has stayed unbeaten in regulation.

The situation was created by Jonathan Ericsson's delay-of-game penalty, and 23 seconds later, the game was knotted 1-1 after Sharp's point blast was blocked by Detroit's Niklas Kronwall and Chicago's Viktor Stalberg beat Kyle Quincey to the puck by a fraction of a second.

Quincey had his stick cocked to clear it when Stalberg backhanded a short pass to Kane in the bottom of the right circle. The Blackhawks' leading scorer then ripped a shot that skipped off Howard's blocker into the short side of the net.

"I had a quicker stick than him this time," Stalberg said. "I think when you go on a streak like this, it's going to be small margins that keep you alive. We got a fortunate bounce, and sometimes you deserve those too. I thought we played a great game overall."

It was the ninth-straight victory for the Blackhawks, which tied the franchise record set in December of the 2008-09 season.

As for the Red Wings (10-8-4), it was the second one-goal loss to their Central Division rivals this season -- the first, on Jan 27 at United Center, ended 2-1 in overtime.

This time, Detroit's Johan Franzen nearly won it in overtime, but a frustrating day for him continued when his backhand shot clanged off the left post.

"It's just the breaks, it's tough to swallow, but at the same time they're a good team," Howard said. "It's impressive. They're finding different ways to do it every single night. It's just two minutes there. Wish we could have gotten them."

Howard (32 saves) came up with a big stop in overtime against Kane with one second left to force the shootout. It was the perfect way to cap this game.

After a scoreless first period largely dominated by the Blackhawks, both teams ratcheted up the intensity in the second. The goalies were tested and came up with great saves to keep zeroes on the scoreboard.

Chicago made the first big push early in the second. One shift in particular stood out, featuring a mix of players from the Blackhawks' third and fourth lines.

It lasted 1:13 and the puck never left the Detroit zone. Chicago put five shots on goal against Howard, with Nick Leddy firing the first, followed by two each from Brandon Saad and Michael Frolik, who also fired a shot from the slot over the net with Howard out of position.

As it turned out, that shift might have been what Detroit needed to snap out of its funk. After trailing in shots 18-8 midway through the second, the Red Wings finally put some heat on Crawford, who was starting for the first time since leaving after the first period of a Feb. 28 game against the St. Louis Blues with an undisclosed upper-body injury.

Crawford made a couple of stops to deny Franzen in the second, and the Red Wings outshot the Blackhawks 13-3 before the horn sounded. Crawford was sharp during a power play late in the period, when he stopped six shots.

"I didn't get much work for the first half of the game," Crawford said. "I had to try and stay into it and our guys came up with a huge kill in the second, at the end of the second there -- some big blocks. Games against them are always good games. It's two skilled teams that can create some chances."

The Red Wings carried the momentum into the third, when Tomas Tatar finally scored the game's first goal at 2:43. Joakim Andersson picked up the primary assist by slipping Tatar a feed from behind the net to the low slot for a one-time redirect past Crawford, who then made several more huge saves to keep it a one-goal game.

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