What's buzzing:
30-24-13
1 -
Team 1 2 3
DET 0 1 0
CHI 0 2 2
4
39-15-14

Red Wings-Blackhawks Preview

AP - Sports

Neither Chicago nor Detroit has time to get nostalgic over a long-standing rivalry that has been trimmed due to the Red Wings' shift to the Eastern Conference prior to this season.

The Blackhawks have slipped in the West standings due to their current slump, while Detroit is fighting to extend its playoff streak to 24 seasons heading into its only visit to Chicago on Sunday night.

The Original Six rivals made the most of their last year as division and conference foes in last season's West semifinals, as Chicago rallied from a 3-1 series deficit and won Game 7 on Brent Seabrook's overtime goal en route to its second Stanley Cup title in four years.

That marked the last time Detroit played at the United Center. The usual six meetings in a full regular season have been cut to a home-and-home because of the NHL's realignment.

The Red Wings won the first matchup 5-4 in a shootout Jan. 22, as captain Henrik Zetterberg had three assists. Zetterberg, though, might not play again this season after having back surgery during the Olympics - just one of many injuries plaguing Detroit (30-23-13) as it battles for one of the East's final playoff spots.

Pavel Datsyuk is likely to miss another week and a half due to a knee injury, and forward Darren Helm has missed the last the five games with a concussion. Coach Mike Babcock hopes Helm will return Tuesday against Toronto.

The Red Wings, slightly outside the East playoff picture, had lost four of five prior to Friday's 2-1 shootout win over Edmonton. Jimmy Howard made 21 saves and stopped all three attempts in the tiebreaker.

"Huge (win)," Babcock said. "Howie, obviously, in the shootout, bailing us out was a real positive for us. It gives us some confidence."

Riley Sheahan scored his fifth goal in the third period. After playing only one game in each of the previous two seasons, the 22-year-old forward has appeared in 26 contests as Detroit tries to make do without some key players.

"I thought Riley Sheahan was a very good player for us (Friday). Very, very good," Babcock said. "He just seems to me to get better and better all the time. He should have a lot of confidence."

The Blackhawks, meanwhile, haven't had many positives lately. They've gone 3-4-0 since the Olympic break, including back-to-back 3-2 losses to Colorado on Wednesday and Nashville on Friday.

Captain Jonathan Toews scored against the Predators and has seven goals and an assist over his last six, but Patrick Sharp has scored just once in his last 11.

Chicago (38-15-14) has slipped to third in the Central Division and fifth in the West, one point behind the Avalanche.

"We're putting ourselves in tough situations by not starting well and just getting away from our team game," Toews said Friday after his team fell behind 2-0 for the second straight game. "We know we need better right now. We need to get out of this kind of trend that we're in."

The Blackhawks lead the NHL with 222 non-shootout goals, but they've scored two or fewer in seven of nine. Corey Crawford made 26 saves Friday and is 6-5-1 with a 1.76 goals against average over his last 12 starts.

Help could be on the way against Detroit, as former Red Wing Marian Hossa hopes to play after sitting out the last five games with an upper-body injury.

"(Saturday) was a good practice, good drills," Hossa said. "It was a great test for me and I felt pretty good."

Crawford had won six straight regular-season starts with a 1.27 GAA against Detroit prior to the loss in January. Howard is winless with a 2.33 GAA in his last seven non-playoff outings versus Chicago.

View Comments (35)
  • Las Vegas ticket drive moves forwards and upwards: Report

    Las Vegas ticket drive moves forwards and upwards: Report

    Congratulations Las Vegas and prospective NHL owner Bill Foley. You have exceeded the magic 10,000 ticket deposit threshold, which is a major step towards getting an NHL franchise, according to ESPN.com. So now what? … More »

    Puck Daddy - 52 minutes ago
  • Devils-Blue Jackets Preview

    The Columbus Blue Jackets and New Jersey Devils will miss the playoffs, though they are headed in opposite directions as the season winds down. The Blue Jackets are surging with six wins in a row and can hand the visiting Devils a season-worst … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 7 minutes ago
  • Senators stay positive despite three-game losing skid hurting playoff chances

    Senators stay positive despite three-game losing skid hurting playoff chances

    After losing three straight and watching a playoff spot slip from their grasp no one could blame the Ottawa Senators for feeling a little dejected. "When you lose it's not a positive feeling in here, but we're trying to keep it as positive as we … More »

    The Canadian Press - 2 hours 19 minutes ago
  • Wild sign college free agents Hoffman, Palmquist

    The Minnesota Wild have agreed to terms on entry-level contracts for next season with two more college free agents, Vermont goalie Brody Hoffman and Minnesota State defenseman Zach Palmquist. He was fourth on the team with 29 points as a senior for … More »

    AP - Sports - 2 hours 32 minutes ago
  • NHL playoff bubble teams you don't want to play (and one you do)

    NHL playoff bubble teams you don't want to play (and one you do)

    Generally, this has been used when discussing the Los Angeles Kings and their playoff chances. The defending champs are the late bloomer nobody wants a piece of. Is this because they’ve won two of the last three Stanley Cups? Is it because they have … More »

    Puck Daddy - 2 hours 43 minutes ago