Series (Game 3 of 6)

Series tied 3-3

Game 1: Thursday, October 8th
Red Wings3
Game 2: Sunday, December 20th
Red Wings0Final
Game 3: Wednesday, December 23rd
Red Wings0
Game 4: Sunday, January 17th
Red Wings3
Game 5: Sunday, March 7th
Red Wings5Final
Game 6: Sunday, April 11th
Red Wings3Final

Blackhawks 3

(24-9-3, 51 pts)

Red Wings 0

(18-14-5, 41 pts)

Coverage: NHL

7:30 PM ET, December 23, 2009

Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan

1 2 3 T
CHI 0 1 23
DET 0 0 00

P. Kane (Blackhawks - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

P. Sharp (Blackhawks - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

A. Niemi (Blackhawks - G): Saves: 33, Save Pct.: 1.000

Blackhawks-Red Wings Preview


The Chicago Blackhawks made a strong case over the weekend that the power has shifted in their Original Six rivalry with the Detroit Red Wings.

A victory at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday would drive the point home.

One night after a frustrating loss to another Western Conference power, the Blackhawks will try to bounce back by beating banged-up Detroit for the second time in four days and regaining a share of the West lead.

The Red Wings eliminated Chicago in five games in the conference finals last season before falling one win short of their second straight Stanley Cup.

Now, while Detroit has dealt with a bevy of injuries and some surprising struggles in the first half of 2009-10, the Blackhawks (23-9-3) have emerged as perhaps the team to beat in the West.

They certainly looked formidable Sunday, holding the Red Wings to a season-low 20 shots en route to a 3-0 home victory. It was the fourth shutout loss in the last 14 games for Detroit, which led the NHL with 3.5 goals per game last season.

"I thought (Chicago) had the puck most of the game," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "... They're a deep team right now and we're not a very deep team right now. Matchup-wise, it was tough for us."

The Red Wings (18-13-5) haven't played since their loss in Chicago, but they likely won't be much healthier for Wednesday's rematch. Henrik Zetterberg remains out with a separated shoulder, headlining a list of injured forwards that includes Johan Franzen and Danny Cleary.

Defensemen Jonathan Ericsson and Niklas Kronwall are also missing for Detroit, which has slipped to ninth place in the West. That hasn't changed how the team is regarded by its rivals, though.

"They're still a top team in the league," Chicago goalie Cristobal Huet said after Sunday's game. "They still have (Nicklas) Lidstrom and (Brian) Rafalski and (Pavel) Datsyuk."

The Red Wings, however, also lost 70-point scorer Marian Hossa to the Blackhawks in the offseason via free agency, and Hossa will be making his return to Detroit on Wednesday.

Hossa scored his sixth goal in 13 games with his new team Tuesday against San Jose, but it wasn't enough to help the Blackhawks avoid a 3-2 home loss.

The Sharks moved two points ahead of Chicago for the conference lead, even after the Blackhawks held a 47-14 edge in shots on goal. Huet stopped just 11 shots after notching shutouts in each of his previous two starts.

"We outshot them, but we couldn't create the top, top chances," Hossa said. "We tried to shoot from bad angles and chaos in front of the net, but their goalie (Evgeni Nabokov) played well.

"We have to learn from this," he added. "We have to be more poised with the puck and trust each other more."

The Blackhawks could also use some more production on the power play after going 0 for 7 against San Jose. They're 3 for 36 (8.3 percent) with the man advantage in their last nine games, after converting 22.3 percent (21 of 94) in their first 26 contests.

The loss was just the second in the last 15 home games for Chicago, which hasn't been as sharp elsewhere. Its 7-5-2 road record includes a 3-2 loss at Detroit on Oct. 8. The Blackhawks are 4-14-1 at Joe Louis Arena since the start of 2003-04.

It's unclear whether Chris Osgood or Jimmy Howard will be in net for the Red Wings after Osgood fell to 17-4-2 in his last 24 appearances against Chicago -- including postseason -- on Sunday. Howard has never faced the Blackhawks.