The Detroit Red Wings have suffered two straight losses, both coming after regulation. Back-to-back matchups with a Chicago Blackhawks team they have dominated of late could help take the sting out of those defeats.
The Red Wings look to bounce back Tuesday when they visit the Blackhawks in a matchup of Central Division clubs on opposite ends of the Western Conference.
These teams and Philadelphia were involved in a three-way trade Monday night in which former Blackhawks forward Kyle Calder ended up in Detroit with Chicago getting forward Jason Williams. The Flyers dealt Calder, who had 59 points for the Blackhawks last season but only 21 in Philadelphia, back to Chicago for defenseman Lasse Kukkonen and a 2007 third-round draft pick.
The Blackhawks in turn sent Calder to the Red Wings and received Williams, who had 11 goals and 15 assists in 58 games.
"We've been trying to acquire Jason Williams since last summer," Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon said in a statement. "He is a quality individual who can add to our team offensively and can also play the point on the power play. We feel with his speed and skill he is another piece of the puzzle as we continue to move forward in making our team better."
Detroit (39-16-8) fell 4-3 in a shootout to Edmonton on Friday, then was defeated 4-3 in overtime Saturday by Nashville - the team the Wings are chasing for the Central Division and West lead.
The Red Wings, two points behind the Predators, are 3-8 in games decided after regulation.
Consecutive games against lowly Chicago could help Detroit forget about its last two losses. The Wings have beaten the Blackhawks 12 times in the last 13 meetings, outscoring them 55-30 in that stretch.
Detroit forward Tomas Holmstrom scored three power-play goals Saturday for his second hat trick of the season and third of his 10-year career, as the Red Wings went 3-for-7 with the man advantage. Holmstrom and the Red Wings, however, couldn't find the net in overtime and lost despite outshooting Nashville 44-29.
"You can't just score with one line, you gotta have everyone," coach Mike Babcock said.
The Wings' Chris Osgood surrendered four goals for the second time in 11 starts this season. He stopped 25 shots, but gave up the tying goal to Paul Kariya with just over a minute left in regulation, then got beat by Peter Forsberg at 2:11 of the extra period.
Despite the back-to-back losses, the Red Wings have earned points in 12 of their last 14 games.
While Detroit is battling Nashville for the top seed in the conference, the Blackhawks (23-30-9) won't be making the playoffs, as they sit in a last-place tie with Columbus in the Central.
Chicago snapped a five-game losing streak with a 5-1 win over St. Louis on Sunday. The Blackhawks scored three times in the first period and got a goal and two assists from Martin Havlat to improve to 2-1-1 at home since dropping eight straight at the United Center.
"(Havlat) was spectacular again," coach Denis Savard said. "He helps everyone else and he's fun to watch. He was all over the ice."
The Blackhawks are 10-3-2 in Havlat's 15 multipoint games this season, including 5-0-0 in his last five. Havlat, who missed 22 games this season with ankle and groin injuries, has 24 goals and 25 assists in just 40 games.
Bryan Smolinski added a goal and an assist in his final game for the Blackhawks. On Monday night, the veteran center was traded to Vancouver for a conditional second-round draft pick.
Chicago is 0-4-0 against Detroit this season and has dropped six straight at home to the Red Wings. The Blackhawks fell 4-2 in the last meeting Feb. 21 at Joe Louis Arena.
The teams meet again Friday night at Detroit.