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GAME: Detroit Red Wings (17-10-3-0) at Chicago Blackhawks (6-14-5-3).TIME: Thursday, 9 p.m. EST.
The last time the Chicago Blackhawks were playing this poorly, Bobby Hull was their leading scorer and the NHL still consisted of only six teams.
Enduring their longest winless streak in more than 44 years, the struggling Blackhawks host the Central Division-leading Detroit Red Wings at the United Center.
Chicago was just 67 seconds away from ending its winless skid at 13, when Shane Doan's third-period power-play goal left the Blackhawks with a 3-3 tie against Phoenix on Sunday night. Though Chicago managed to earn a point for the just the fifth time in its last 14 games, the Blackhawks' record dropped to 0-9-2-3 since a 2-1 win at Nashville on Nov. 7.
It was Scott Nichol's late roughing penalty that cost Chicago a chance to avoid its first 14-game winless skid since the 1959-60 season, when the legendary Hull led the team with 39 goals and 81 points and the Blackhawks finished third among the "Original Six".
"You've got to have better judgment," Blackhawks coach Brian Sutter said of Nichol's penalty. "We had won the hockey game at that point in time. It was a tough hockey game."
Chicago is beginning to close in on its longest winless skid ever, a 21-game drought during the 1950-51 campaign. A matchup with the surging Red Wings may not inspire much confidence in the sagging Blackhawks.
Detroit has won the first two meetings from Chicago this season, including a 3-0 home victory on Nov. 10 and a 4-3 overtime triumph four days later -- both defeats contributing to the Blackhawks' epic slide.
On Wednesday, Pavel Datsyuk had two goals and an assist as Detroit used a five-goal third period to blow past Buffalo 7-2. Curtis Joseph, who cleared waivers Friday after Detroit demoted him to Grand Rapids of the AHL, made 23 saves in his fourth start of the season, and first since a 5-2 win over Minnesota on Nov. 22.
The Red Wings have won two straight and own a 6-1-1 mark in their last eight games, moving two points in front of second-place St. Louis in the Central.