Conklin wraps up shutout with 36 saves as Wings win Winter Classic warmup

DETROIT -- The Red Wings withstood the Chicago Blackhawks'
opening barrage and showed why they are still the top team in
Central Division.

Ty Conklin made 36 saves for his seventh NHL shutout, and Johan
Franzen scored twice to lift Detroit to a 4-0 win that snapped the
Blackhawks' team-record, nine-game winning streak.

Chicago came into the game only four points behind the first
place Red Wings and dominated early, outshooting Detroit 12-1 in
the first 9:21. James Wisniewski hit the goal post during a power
play a little over seven minutes in. Conklin, who earned his third
shutout this season, made several outstanding saves to keep the
game scoreless.

"The defense was outstanding, especially on the penalty kill,"
Conklin said. "I think it was big to get out of there [the two
early penalties] tied 0-0."

Pavel Datsyuk added a goal and an assist, Tomas Kopecky scored
his second of the season, and Brian Rafalski and Niklas Kronwall
each had two assists in the Red Wings' 700th game against the

"They played better the first 10 [minutes]," Franzen said.
"We got a couple of penalties, and Conks made some big saves to
keep us in the game ... We took over later."

It was the second time in less than two weeks that Detroit shut
out a surging team. The Red Wings and Conklin defeated the San Jose
Sharks, who have the NHL's best record, 6-0 at Joe Louis Arena on
Dec. 18.

"You've got to play well against the good teams," Franzen
said. "We kind of need that on this team to get motivated."

Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 35 shots for Chicago in the start of
a home-and-home series that will conclude Thursday outside at
Wrigley Field in the Winter Classic. The Blackhawks had earned at
least one point in 11 consecutive games.

"I thought it was the perfect start. Not scoring didn't help
us," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said the team looked the same
as it had during the winning streak but the quality of the opponent
made the difference.

"We played the way we've played the past few games," he said,
"but we played a better team."

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Conklin would start Thursday
because Chris Osgood is still nursing a sore groin. Conklin also
started the NHL's previous two outdoor games. He was with Edmonton
when it hosted the Montreal Canadiens at Commonwealth Stadium in
November 2003, and was in goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins when
they beat the Buffalo Sabres in a shootout at Ralph Wilson Stadium
last New Year's Day.

"I think it's going to be a lot of fun. Both teams realize the
importance of it," Conklin said. "It's more than a run of the
mill regular-season game."

Datsyuk's power-play goal with 4:09 left in the first period
opened the scoring. He beat Khabibulin with a wrist shot from the
top of the left circle, with Tomas Holmstrom providing a screen,
for his 15th goal. Datsyuk also won 14 of 18 faceoffs.

"It's my job," he said. "It helps when we want to handle the
puck, and especially on the power play to get the puck back."
Franzen's power-play goal made it 2-0 at 6:58 of second. He beat
Khabibulin from the bottom of the right circle high to the short

"The power play was the difference," Franzen said.

Franzen netted his second of the night and 17th of the season
just 37 seconds into the third when he jammed the puck through
Khabibulin's pads.

Kopecky scored with 7:55 left.

Game notes
Detroit D Nicklas Lidstrom missed his second game due to a
sore ankle. ... Chicago D Cam Barker didn't play because of a lower
body injury. ... Red Wings RW Mikael Samuelsson missed the game
because of the flu. ... Holmstrom went to the locker room after
getting hit by a shot in the face with about 1:15 left in the
second period. He returned for the third. ... Datsyuk stretched his
point streak to eight games (7 goals, 9 assists). ... Red Wings D
Chris Chelios, the oldest player in the NHL at 46, played in his
third game of the season.