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Showdown in Chicago tonight

Sunday, 01.6.2008 / 12:55 PM ET / Preview
Associated Press
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Showdown in Chicago tonight

Chicago - The Red Wings have the best record in the NHL, but it's not because of their play against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Red Wings again look for their first win of the season over their Original Six rival when they visit the struggling Blackhawks on Sunday.

It's only January, but Detroit (31-8-3) has already distanced itself from the rest of the Western Conference with 65 points, holding a double-digit lead over its closet challengers. The win total is the most after 42 games in franchise history.

Their 89 goals allowed are the fewest in the league. That total remained the same after a 3-0 win at Dallas on Saturday afternoon to sweep a home-and-home series with the Stars.

The Red Wings, who are 14-5-2 away from home, are looking for their sixth straight road victory. For that to happen, though, Detroit must beat the Blackhawks (19-18-3) for the first time in five tries this season.

Though three of the four meetings between the teams have been decided by one goal - including one in a shootout - the Red Wings are 0-3-1 versus Chicago after going 7-0-1 in the 2006-07 series.

Detroit, however, might be catching Chicago at the right time. The Blackhawks are trying to avoid a season-high fifth consecutive loss as they return home after being swept on a three-game western road trip.

On Saturday, the Red Wings scored on their first shot of the game and controlled the play the rest of the way. Dan Cleary had a goal with an assist and Dominik Hasek made 22 saves for his 78th career shutout for Detroit, which has outscored its opponents 20-5 in winning its last five away from home.

"It was a very tight game," Cleary said of Saturday's contest. "It was one where you had to take advantage of the opportunities given to you."

Cleary has a goal and an assist in each of his last two games. Leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg added an assist and has three in two contests since missing five with a back injury. Zetterberg has two goals and five assists versus Chicago this season.

Despite Hasek's effort Saturday, Chris Osgood could start Sunday as coach Mike Babcock continues to alternate between the two. Osgood, who is 18-2-1 with a 1.71 goals-against average, lost 3-2 on Nov. 11 in his only start versus Chicago this season.

The Blackhawks fell 2-1 at Anaheim on Friday and should welcome a return to the United Center, where they have won three of their last four.

"It's tough when you know you were in the game and you had some chances." said Chicago rookie Patrick Kane, who tallied an assist in his sixth straight game Friday.

Patrick Sharp scored the only goal for Chicago, which was outscored 15-5 on its road trip and is struggling for offense with forwards Martin Havlat (groin), Jason Williams (groin) and Jonathan Toews (knee) out with injuries.

Sharp, who has a team-high 21 goals, had three goals and an assist as Chicago totaled three short-handed goals in a 5-3 win at Detroit on Nov. 17 - the teams' most recent meeting.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59