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Red Wings-Blackhawks Preview @NHLdotcom

The Detroit Red Wings can attribute another strong start to their solid play on the road.

The reigning Stanley Cup champions look to keep that going when they open a five-game road trip starting Saturday night against the surging Chicago Blackhawks in an Original Six matchup.

Detroit (5-1-1) will try to remain perfect on the road with a fourth consecutive victory, while trying to cool down Chicago, which has won two in a row and is 2-0-1 since Joel Quenneville replaced the fired Denis Savard as coach.

The Central Division-leading Red Wings didn't have an easy time with their rival in 2007-08, going 3-4-1 against the Blackhawks and 1-2-1 at the United Center.

Two weeks into this season, Detroit has managed early success away from home, where it has outscored its opponents 10-6 and is 4-for-9 on the power play in its last two road contests.

Detroit also tries for a fourth straight victory overall after winning 5-3 over Atlanta at home on Friday as Marian Hossa and Henrik Zetterberg each had two goals. Hossa also added an assist against his former team, giving him three goals and six assists in his first season with the Red Wings.

"We used to see that with him, so it's good to see him doing it for us," Zetterberg said. "He's had a lot of games where he's scored more than one goal. We're sure glad to have him with us."

Zetterberg has at least one goal in his last three contests, and four in that span, including two on the road. He had four goals and five assists Chicago last season.

Brian Rafalski got an assist to extend his point streak to seven games, while Tomas Holmstrom added an assist but had his goal-scoring streak snapped at four games.

Chris Osgood made 30 saves to improve to 3-1-1 this season, and is 26-14-2 with two ties and a 2.40 goals-against average in his career against Chicago.

With this being the team's first back-to-back scenario of the season, backup Ty Conklin, who is 2-0-0 with a 2.00 GAA, could get the start. He is 3-0-0 with a 1.25 GAA versus the Blackhawks.

Chicago (3-2-2) looks for its fourth straight home win after handing Edmonton its first loss of the season, 3-0 on Wednesday. Patrick Sharp had a goal and an assist while Nikolai Khabibulin made 23 saves for his 39th career shutout.

"The whole team worked well," Khabibulin said. "I was really impressed."

Khabibulin, 2-1-1 with a 1.97 GAA, is likely to make his third straight start, but Quenneville does not appear ready to make him the team's No. 1 goalie ahead of Cristobal Huet, who is 1-1-1 with a 2.61 GAA.

"Right now, I'm in now hurry," Quenneville said. "Both guys are deserving of getting some playing time. It's a healthy position to be in as a team."

Sharp leads the team with five goals and 10 points, including three goals and three assists in his last three games. Though he had four goals in eight games versus the Red Wings in 2007-08, Sharp has just one assist for his only point in his last four contests against Detroit.

This is the last game between the clubs in Chicago before meeting in this season's Winter Classic on Jan. 1 at Wrigley Field.

EA SPORTS NHL09 Game Predictions
Detroit 4
Chicago 2
Three Stars
g: 2 | A: 0
Tomas Holmstrom
g: 1 | a: 1

G: 1 | A: 1


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