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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, May 25th (All times Eastern)
(7) Detroit Red Wings (3-1) at (1) Chicago Blackhawks (1-3), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - With a win Saturday night in Game 5 at Chicago's United Center, the seventh-seeded Detroit Red Wings can complete the biggest upset of the 2013 postseason.
The Red Wings have built a 3-1 lead in this best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series, pushing the top-seeded Blackhawks -- this year's Presidents' Trophy winners -- to the brink of elimination.
This series started off as expected, with Chicago pasting the Red Wings by a 4-1 score in Game 1. However, Detroit began a three-game winning streak with a 4-1 win of its own in Game 2 before winning two straight on home ice to take a commanding lead in the series.
The Blackhawks set an NHL record by going 24 straight games (21-0-3) without a regulation loss to open the season. They never lost three straight -- in regulation or otherwise -- at any point this season before dropping Games 2, 3 and 4 to the Red Wings.
Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard has been a clear difference-maker for his team in this series and he posted 28 saves for his second career playoff shutout in Thursday's 2-0 win at Joe Louis Arena.
"He was real solid for us and gave us a great opportunity to win," said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock about Howard. "We weren't very good in the first period and I don't know why, but he was there for us and from that point on I think we played much better."
Jakub Kindl scored the game-winner, while Daniel Cleary added an empty-netter for the Red Wings, who will try to advance to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 on Saturday.
Detroit made it to the Stanley Cup finals in 2009, but lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in seven games after beating the Pens for the title the previous season.
The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are in the second round this season for the first time since winning a Cup in 2010, but they could be headed for an earlier than expected exit on Saturday.
Corey Crawford gave up just one goal on 26 shots in Game 4 for the Blackhawks and he believes the tide can still turn in favor of his team.
"I think everyone is a little angry," said Crawford. "I thought we played really well tonight, but we're not getting any bounces. We had a bunch off the post and that pretty much just sums it up for us the last couple of games. We're doing a lot of good things and we just can't give up."
Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, who has yet to score a goal in this postseason, had a bad night on Thursday, as he took three penalties -- two hi- sticking infractions and a hook -- over a span of less than six minutes in the second period. One of the penalties led to the power-play goal by Kindl.
"Emotions run high in some of these games, and my stick got a little loose there," Toews said. "I was playing hard. Sometimes that happens."
Kindl's goal was the first power-play tally surrendered by Chicago in these playoffs. The Blackhawks enter Game 5 having killed off 31 of the opposition's 32 chances with the man advantage.
Chicago is 4-1 as the home team in the postseason after going 18-3-3 at the United Center during the regular season. The Red Wings are 3-3 on the road in the playoffs and went 11-9-4 as the road team in 2013.
If necessary, Game 6 is scheduled for Monday in Detroit.
05/25 10:49:05 ET