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Red Wings try to even series against Blackhawks

by Brian Hedger


(Chicago leads best-of-7 series 1-0)


Big story: The Chicago Blackhawks aim to hold serve on home ice and take a 2-0 series lead at United Center against the Detroit Red Wings before the Western Conference Semifinal shifts to Joe Louis Arena for Games 3 and 4. The Red Wings will be trying to end an eight-game losing streak against Chicago that includes a 4-1 loss in Game 1.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: Detroit got off to a decent start in Game 1 but was outskated and outplayed for most of the final 40 minutes. The game was 1-1 after two periods, but the Blackhawks turned up the heat even higher in the third period and scored three times, capped by Patrick Sharp's empty-netter.

Chicago's forecheck gave the Detroit defense fits and eventually turned a 38-save performance by goalie Jimmy Howard into another frustrating defeat. The Red Wings, who eliminated the Anaheim Ducks on the road Sunday with a Game 7 victory, were outshot 42-21 and hope that having two days between games puts more pep in their game.

"It was kind of like those games when you come home from the West Coast, the first home game [after a road trip]," captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "That's how it kind of felt like. We were there, but we weren't really there, so it's nice to have a few extra days here, and now we feel ready to go."

Blackhawks: Chicago's players and coach Joel Quenneville are saying all the right things, careful not to disrespect the Red Wings, a franchise the Blackhawks are basically modeled after. But Game 1 of this series looked a lot like their games from the previous few seasons against Detroit. The Blackhawks were faster, deeper and better on the defensive side of the rink. Will a couple of days off between games change it all that much? It's possible, but the Blackhawks don't appear to be interested in easing off the gas pedal anytime soon.

"We're very confident," forward Patrick Kane said. "We have to be careful not to get too ahead of ourselves, [and] make sure we're focusing on the task on hand. The biggest thing for us is to make sure we're playing with a lot of intensity and not just relying on our skill. If we're the hardest-working team on the ice, usually we'll have a good chance to win.''

Who's hot: Howard made 38 saves for the Red Wings while under siege the last two periods. Forward Damien Brunner scored a goal and nearly had a second one before Chicago's Brent Seabrook batted the puck away from the net out of midair before it crossed the goal line. … After scoring five goals in Chicago's Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Minnesota Wild, Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp added another and two assists in Game 1.

Injury report: Red Wings forward Drew Miller (finger/hand fracture) might get back into the lineup for Game 2, which would give Detroit more depth up front and add a penalty-killer. … Blackhawks forward Michal Handzus and defenseman Duncan Keith didn't practice Friday for unspecified reasons but are expected to play.

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