|CHI||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||4|
|DET||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
Unlike their previous meeting, the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings won't have as much hype for Saturday's game in Detroit.
In fact, there's little at stake in the teams' regular season-ending, home-and-home series - their first matchup since the Winter Classic on New Year's Day at Wrigley Field.
With Calgary's 5-1 loss in Edmonton on Friday night, the Blackhawks (44-24-12) locked up home ice for the first round of the postseason, where they could face the Flames, and the Red Wings (51-19-10) will be the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
Chicago, however, would probably like to break its losing streak to its Central Division rival, while Detroit is looking to regain momentum heading into its Stanley Cup title defense after another disappointing loss.
After clinching their first playoff berth in seven years on March 3, the Blackhawks haven't slacked off, with Wednesday night's 4-3 shootout loss to visiting Columbus their only blemish during a 4-0-1 stretch. Chicago blew two leads to the Blue Jackets, missed on all three shootout attempts but reached 100 points for the seventh time in franchise history and first since 1992-93.
"It would have been nice to get both points tonight," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We definitely left a valuable point on the table. I think we started well, but Columbus is a desperate team that fought back hard."
Another late defensive breakdown cost the Red Wings again in their 4-3 shootout loss Thursday night to visiting Nashville. Detroit allowed the Predators to score twice in the final 6:42 of regulation, including the tying goal with 59 seconds remaining.
Nashville extended the shootout on its final attempt, then put the winning shot past Chris Osgood to hand the Red Wings their fourth defeat in five home games. Detroit also gave up three third-period goals in losses to the Predators on March 29 and St. Louis on April 2.
"Obviously, the level of urgency that they maintained for 60 minutes was greater than ours. If we would have had that level of urgency, we would have won that game," coach Mike Babcock said.
The Red Wings likely won't have leading goal scorer Marian Hossa for the games against Chicago due to a groin injury, but Hossa, who reached 40 goals for the second time in his career, is expected to return for the playoffs.
Hossa had two goals and six points in Detroit's four wins this season over the Blackhawks, and Chicago has lost five straight to its Original Six nemesis. The Red Wings have also won the last four home meetings and are 15-2-1 in the past 18 at Joe Louis Arena.
The Blackhawks have their own injury issues as Patrick Sharp is not expected to play this weekend because of a lower-body injury. Kris Versteeg is doubtful for Saturday after injuring his upper body in practice Friday.
Quenneville told the team's official Web site Versteeg's injury, suffered during an awkward fall, was "not serious," and the rookie left winger could return for Sunday's regular season finale at home.
Cristobal Huet is expected to make his first start since March 31, and matched a career-high by allowing six goals in the 6-4 loss at Wrigley Field before being pulled in the third period for Nikolai Khabibulin. Huet is 0-2-1 with a 4.02 goals-against average in four lifetime appearances against Detroit.
|Apr 12 '09||DET 0 at CHI 3||A. Ladd|
|Apr 11 '09||CHI 4 at DET 2||D. Byfuglien|
|Jan 01 '09||DET 6 at CHI 4||B. Rafalski|
|Dec 30 '08||CHI 0 at DET 4||P. Datsyuk|
|Dec 06 '08||CHI 4 at DET 5 - SO||P. Datsyuk|
|Oct 25 '08||DET 6 at CHI 5 - SO||M. Hossa|