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Blackhawks host Red Wings aiming to avoid 3rd straight loss
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks hope to avoid a third straight loss on Sunday night as they battle former division rival Detroit for the second time since the Red Wings' shifted to the Eastern Conference.
The Blackhawks have lost consecutive 3-2 games versus the Colorado Avalanche and Nashville, with the recent setback to the Predators coming at home on Friday. Jonathan Toews and Peter Regin had the goals for Chicago, while Corey Crawford yielded three goals on 29 shots faced.
The 'Hawks never led in the game, falling behind 2-0 in the first period before Toews lit the lamp with just 14 seconds on the clock in the opening frame. His tally came 55 seconds after Nashville's second goal.
"It was tough to watch the last part of the first period," Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought that was as bad as we probably played for any stretch all year."
Toews' 26th goal of the season gave him seven goals and eight points in his past six games, but couldn't help the Blackhawks make up ground in the Central Division race. Chicago sits third in the standings, one point back of the Avs.
Detroit used to battle Chicago in the Central Division, but moved to the Eastern Conference prior to this season under realignment. The clubs squared off for the first time this season Jan. 22 in Detroit, with the Red Wings managing a 5-4 shootout win to halt a seven-game slide to the Blackhawks.
Chicago has won three in a row and five of its past seven at home versus Detroit and could have forward Marian Hossa back in the lineup tonight. Hossa has missed the last five games with an upper-body injury, but practiced on Friday and is targeting either tonight or Tuesday for a return.
The Red Wings are coming off Friday's 2-1 shootout decision over the Edmonton Oilers. Riley Sheahan scored in regulation and Tomas Tatar had the lone goal in the tiebreaker, lifting the puck over Edmonton netminder Viktor Fasth in the third round.
Jimmy Howard then came up with a stop on Taylor Hall to secure the victory for a Red Wings club that had lost four of five coming in and is two points back of the second wild card spot in the East.
"We had to work for everything," said Howard, who finished with 21 saves. "They're a dangerous team right now when they are playing as loose as they are. They're just wheeling-and-dealing out there and they're a tough team to play against. They have a lot of skilled forwards and they made us work for everything here tonight."
Howard, who had missed Detroit's previous game with the flu, snapped a personal 0-2-1 drought and is 4-7-5 with a 2.79 goals against average in his career versus the Blackhawks.
Crawford is 11-2-3 with a 1.94 GAA lifetime when facing off against the Red Wings, who have lost three in a row on the road.
03/16 10:51:46 ET
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