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Red Wings, Blackhawks square off in another matinee

by Brian Hunter /

BLACKHAWKS (25-5-3) at RED WINGS (17-12-5)


Last 10: Chicago 5-5-0; Detroit 5-4-1

Season series: Third meeting of the season between these Central Division rivals. The Blackhawks already have a pair of 2-1 victories, both post-regulation. Nick Leddy had the decisive goal on Jan. 27 in Chicago, while Patrick Kane got credit for the winner on March 3 in Detroit.

Big story: It's going to be tough for the Blackhawks and Red Wings to top the show they put on before a national-TV audience and the Joe Louis Arena crowd four weeks ago, but you can count on both teams to try. Detroit broke a scoreless tie early in the third period and looked set to deal Chicago its first regulation loss of the season before Kane scored a power-play goal with 2:02 remaining to force overtime, and later won it in the shootout.

Team Scope:

Blackhawks: Since beginning the season on a historic 21-0-3 run, Chicago has dropped five of nine. In the first four of those defeats, the Blackhawks yielded an astonishing 21 goals. Friday night's loss to the Ducks at United Center had nothing to do with porous defense or goaltending, just a tight battle that saw the Hawks fall 2-1 on a Sheldon Souray goal with 2:08 remaining. Kane had a power-play goal early in the third period that temporarily drew them even.

"You're never happy with a loss, but you know you're going to lose a couple during the year," said goalie Ray Emery, who made 22 saves. "You just have to correct mistakes if there are mistakes to be corrected and move on."

Red Wings: Gordie Howe, "Mr. Hockey," turns 85 on Sunday and Detroit players will wear his No. 9 during warm-ups. This is the first game back off a four-game road trip for the Red Wings, who had to be pretty satisfied to gain six of a possible eight points. They could have been perfect, were it not for an inability to put a puck past Sharks goalie Antti Niemi on Thursday. Niemi stopped 27 shots and outdueled Jimmy Howard (22 saves) to deal the Wings a 2-0 defeat.

"It was tight both ways," forward Henrik Zetterberg said. "There were not a lot of chances both ways. We got halted on the rush, but we also kept them to the outside. The first goal was off a skate, and the second one was a giveaway. That's about it."

Who's hot: Kane has six goals and nine assists during an eight-game points streak for the Blackhawks. Duncan Keith has a goal and seven assists over his past six games. … Howard stopped 88 of 92 shots on the Red Wings' road trip, a .957 save percentage.

Injury report: Chicago is without forwards Patrick Sharp (shoulder) and Marian Hossa (upper body). … Detroit forward Mikael Samuelsson (hand) could be activated off injured reserve for Sunday's game. Johan Franzen (lower body) is day-to-day. Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder) has been sent to Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League on a conditioning assignment. Defenseman Kyle Quincey (cheekbone) and forwards Darren Helm (back) and Todd Bertuzzi (back) are on injured reserve.

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