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Red Wings look to finish upset of Blackhawks

by Brian Hedger


(Detroit leads best-of-7, 3-1)


Big story: There are no more second chances for the Chicago Blackhawks. They either win and extend their Western Conference Semfinal series or go home for the summer with the sting of major disappointment following a season in which they won the Presidents' Trophy with 77 points in 48 games.

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard has been outstanding in net since Chicago's 4-1 victory in Game 1, and the defense in front of him continues to slow the Blackhawks.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: Detroit keeps building confidence with every Chicago shot that doesn't go in the net, whether it's stopped by Howard or clangs off metal. The Red Wings also have also won the faceoff battle in every game of this series, which is one of the details that's looming as a large factor, especially when the margins were as close as the past two games at Joe Louis Arena.

Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are leading the way in draws, and Joakim Andersson and Cory Emmerton are getting the job done on the third and fourth lines. After winning three games in a row, the Red Wings hope to end this series before the Blackhawks can get even a little wind back in their sails.

"We know that they're a desperate team," coach Mike Babcock said. "I’d like to think that we’ll be desperate as well. You want to be as prepared as the opportunity is important and we have to play that hard.”

Blackhawks: They've tried changing the personnel at least a couple of times, but Chicago's power play is still a major problem area. It's gone from a nagging problem for almost the entire second half of the regular season to a concern in the conference quarterfinals to a major reason they're facing potential elimination.

Chicago is 1-for-12 (8.3 percent) with the extra man in this series and 3-for-25 (12.0 percent) in nine Stanley Cup Playoff games. That's on top of struggling against Detroit's defense and Howard in 5-on-5 play, leading to a combined two goals in the past three games -- and none for captain Jonathan Toews in the postseason.

"We all take the burden for being down 3-1," defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "We all win as a group and we lose as a group. Just because one guy isn't scoring doesn't mean he's going to win the game or lose the game for us. It takes a team effort and we all have to pick our socks up here."

Who's hot: Howard recorded his second career playoff shutout in Game 4 and has a 5-1 record with a 1.67 goals-against average and .950 save percentage in Detroit's past six games.

Injury report: Red Wings forward Mikael Samuelsson (upper body) is day-to-day. Third-line center Darren Helm (back) and rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser (fractured hand) are out for the series. ... Chicago reports no injuries.

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