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GAME: Chicago Blackhawks (7-16-6-3) at Detroit Red Wings (20-10-3-1).TIME: Friday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
Strangely enough, the Central Division-leading Detroit Red Wings are the only team the hapless Chicago Blackhawks have been able to beat in more than a month.
The Blackhawks hope to turn the trick again as they visit the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
Chicago's 4-3 overtime home win over Detroit on Dec. 11 is its lone victory in the last 18 games (1-11-3-3). The Blackhawks have also lost 10 straight road games since a 2-1 triumph at Nashville on Nov. 7.
Since defeating the Red Wings, the Blackhawks have gone winless in their last three (0-2-1), including Thursday's 6-1 setback at Ottawa. Mark Bell scored for Chicago, which is playing without starting goalie Jocelyn Thibault (hip), forwards Alexei Zhamnov (back) and Eric Daze (back), defensemen Steve McCarthy (groin) and Alexander Karpovtsev (ankle).
Thibault has been out since the victory over the Predators.
Unlike the Blackhawks, the Red Wings have thrived despite missing eight regulars due to injury.
Detroit has won three in a row, and is unbeaten in 10 of its last 12, including a 3-2 overtime victory over San Jose on Wednesday.
Steve Yzerman missed his sixth straight game because of a groin injury.
Pavel Datsyuk scored with 18.8 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, netting his 11th goal in the last nine games.
"In my mind, he's one of the top two or three players in the league," said Curtis Joseph, who made 26 saves for the Red Wings.
Brett Hull also had an assist Wednesday, extending his points streak to 12 games. He is fourth in the league with 36 points.
"Especially with our injury situation, Brett is a big reason we've remained among the top teams in the Western Conference," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said.
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