NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, December 11th (All times eastern)
Detroit Red Wings (17-10-3-0) at Chicago Blackhawks (6-14-5-3), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Chicago Blackhawks try for their first win in 15 games tonight when they close a brief two-game homestand against the first-place Detroit Red Wings at the United Center.
The Blackhawks stopped an eight-game losing streak on Sunday with a 2-2 tie against the Phoenix Coyotes, but are just 0-9-2-3 in their last 14. Kyle Calder scored a pair of third-period power-play goals for Chicago, which hasn't won since November 7 and has matched its longest winless streak since the 1959-60 campaign.
Michael Leighton turned aside 14 shots for the Blackhawks, who are also starting to close in on the franchise's worst slide ever, a 21-game drought during the 1950-51 season.
The Blackhawks, who have 20 points and are tied with Columbus for last place in the Central Division, are 3-4-2-2 at home this season.
At the other end of the spectrum are the Detroit Red Wings, who sit atop the Central standings and come into tonight's contest riding a two-game winning streak after Wednesday's 7-2 rout over the Buffalo Sabres.
Pavel Datsyuk scored twice and added an assist, while Kris Draper finished with a goal and an assist for the Red Wings, who improved to 6-1-1 in their last eight games.
Mathieu Schneider and Boyd Devereaux also had a goal and an assist apiece, with Kirk Maltby and Jiri Hudler adding scores in the blowout.
Curtis Joseph, who was waived by the team last week and subsequently sent to the AHL, made 23 saves. He was filling in for the injured Dominik Hasek and Manny Legace and is expected to play again tonight.
Datsyuk has six goals in his last five games. He also has seven tallies and 10 assists in the last 10 contests.
Detroit, which will be playing the middle portion a three-game road trip, is 7-7-3-0 away from home this season.
The Red Wings have already beaten the Blackhawks twice this season by a combined 7-3 score. Detroit, which has won four of the last six overall matchups, has won three of five and four of its last seven in the Windy City.
12/11 10:45:11 ET