(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks will try to record their first three-game winning streak in over a month when they visit the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday in a clash between Original Six rivals at Joe Louis Arena.
The Blackhawks recently went 3-0-1 on a four-game homestand and closed the stay in the Windy City with consecutive victories against Anaheim and Boston. It marked the first time Chicago had won two in a row since Dec. 23-27 and the club hasn't registered three straight victories since Dec. 8-11.
This evening's clash marks the first of two scheduled meetings this season between the Blackhawks and Red Wings, who are old rivals but no longer play in the same conference due to the onset of realignment.
Detroit, which will visit Chicago on March 16 to complete the season series, has lost seven straight regular-season games against the Blackhawks. Chicago also ousted the Red Wings from the playoffs last spring, winning the final three games of the best-of-seven series to come back from a three-games-to-one deficit to take the second-round set.
The Blackhawks, of course, went on to win their second Stanley Cup title in four years after overcoming the seventh-seeded Red Wings.
After beating the Ducks by a 4-2 score on Friday, Chicago posted Sunday's 3-2 shootout win over the Boston Bruins in a rematch of last spring's Stanley Cup Finals. Patrick Kane scored the winner in the shootout after going 0-for-9 for the season in the penalty-shot segment before Sunday.
On the final attempt of the shootout, Kane skated down the middle and slowed up before picking his shot and burying a wrister past Tuukka Rask for the win.
Marian Hossa and Brandon Bollig scored for the Blackhawks in regulation, while Corey Crawford stopped 34 shots in the win.
"I thought the pace of this game was quick and it didn't stop," said Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville. "They're a great team and they can really wear you down. I thought the guys did a good job of standing them up."
Chicago now embarks on a road-heavy portion of its schedule, as it will play two straight and nine of its next 10 away from United Center. The Blackhawks, who are 14-5-4 as the guest, will visit Minnesota tomorrow evening before playing their final home game before the Winter Olympics break in Sunday's test against visiting Winnipeg.
Detroit, meanwhile, lost for the third time in four games in Monday's 4-1 setback against the visiting St. Louis Blues. The Red Wings, who are already battling a ton of injuries, also lost goaltender Jimmy Howard to a knee injury in Monday's defeat.
Howard expects to miss at least a week of action with fluid in his knee, meaning backup Jonas Gustavsson will take over the bulk of the goaltending duties in his absence. Gustavsson had been dealing with a groin injury of his own, but is ready to start on Wednesday.
Jaroslav Halak stopped 22 shots to help the Blues subdue the Red Wings and drop Detroit to 7-11-7 as the host this season. Howard started the game in net for Detroit but left halfway through the second period. He had allowed three goals on 25 shots. Petr Mrazek took over and gave up a goal on 14 shots.
"They were better in all areas of the game tonight," said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock. "But I don't want the guys focusing on this because our game lately has been very good."
Gustav Nyquist scored the only goal of the game for Detroit, which is dealing with injuries to several key players, including forward Pavel Datsyuk. The Russian star will miss an eighth straight game on Wednesday with a lower-body injury, and fellow forwards Daniel Alfredsson (back) and Joakim Andersson (lower body) are also out.
In addition to Datsyuk, Alfredsson and Andersson, forwards Johan Franzen (head) and Darren Helm (groin/shoulder) are expected to miss Wednesday's tilt. However, defenseman Jonathan Ericsson could return tonight for the first time since injuring his ribs on Dec. 23.
Detroit is in the midst of a five-game homestand and will continue the stay at the Joe on Friday against Montreal before completing the residency in Sunday's test against Florida.