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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, January 22nd (All times eastern)

Chicago Blackhawks (25-18-4) at Detroit Red Wings (29-12-6), 2 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The well-rested Chicago Blackhawks will take on a Central Division rival riddled with injuries when they visit the Detroit Red Wings today at Joe Louis Arena.

The Blackhawks haven't played since Sunday, when they defeated the visiting Nashville Predators to earn a split of the home-and-home series. Chicago will now play three times in four days, as they'll host Philadelphia and Minnesota on Sunday and Tuesday, respectively.

Detroit is currently first in the Central Division and 10 points ahead of the third-place Blackhawks, but the Red Wings have been forced to deal with a rash of injuries lately.

The club got goaltender Jimmy Howard back on the ice in its last game, but forwards Tomas Holmstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Mike Modano and Dan Cleary, as well as defenseman Brad Stuart and goaltender Chris Osgood, are all out for the Red Wings.

Detroit won for the second time in three games with Thursday's overtime victory in St. Louis. Darren Helm scored 1:51 into the extra session, lifting the Red Wings to the 4-3 victory at Scottrade Center.

Detroit had a 3-0 lead midway through the game, but allowed the Blues to come all the way back to tie it.

Howard, back in net for the Red Wings after missing two games with a bruised right knee, had 26 saves in the win and didn't face a shot in overtime.

"I thought after they tied it, we got going again," Detroit head coach Mike Babcock said. "We got right back to playing the way we could. It's always a mental thing, it's not like we're asking our guys to get back on their heels like they did. But it turned out to be a good win for us."

Patrick Eaves, Todd Bertuzzi and Jakub Kindl also scored for the Red Wings.

Howard is expected to start again today after Detroit attempted to land its No. 1 goaltender some help. The Red Wings had signed Evgeni Nabokov to a one- year contract on Thursday, but since the former Sharks netminder had played in the Kontinental Hockey League this year, he had to clear waivers.

Nabokov did not, as the Islanders claimed him early Saturday. Detroit was in search for help because Osgood is out with a sports hernia.

Nabokov, a ninth-round pick of the Sharks in the 1994 draft, spent all 10 of his NHL seasons with San Jose and has a career record of 293-178-37 with 29 ties.

Detroit is 14-5-4 as the host this season, but the Red Wings have lost two straight and three of their last four tilts on home ice against the Blackhawks.

Chicago and the Red Wings have split a pair of meetings so far in the 2010-11 season series and today's contest will mark the first matchup in the Motor City. Detroit had taken three in a row in the series before the Blackhawks recorded a 4-1 win the last time the teams met on Dec. 17. Chicago has claimed six of 10 overall from the Red Wings.

The Blackhawks recorded a 6-3 victory last Sunday against the Predators as Troy Brouwer scored the game-tying and go-ahead goal just 40 seconds apart from each other in the third period.

Dave Bolland also added two goals for the Blackhawks. Bryan Bickell tallied a goal and an assist while Jonathan Toews also lit the lamp in the win.

Marty Turco made 20 saves for the Blackhawks, who blew a 2-0 lead in dropping a 3-2 shootout decision Saturday in Nashville. Chicago fell behind 3-2 early in the third period of Sunday's tilt, but then exploded for four unanswered goals.

"When they scored that goal in the third we knew that wasn't going to be enough to stop us," Toews said. "We wanted to repay them for coming back against us [Saturday]."

Chicago has lost five of its last six road games and is just 9-7-4 away from the Windy City this season.

01/22 12:25:16 ET


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