After losing three of four, the Red Wings (17-4-4) have won consecutive games, including a 6-5 victory over Vancouver on Thursday in which they matched a season high in goals. They first set that mark in a 6-5 shootout win Oct. 25 in Chicago.
Marian Hossa—the Red Wings’ leader with 14 goals and 28 points—had a goal and an assist in regulation, and scored the winning goal in the shootout against the Blackhawks (11-6-6). Jiri Hudler had three points, and he played a big part in Thursday’s win.
Hudler scored twice in the first period, giving him four goals in the past three games. He has five points in the last two meetings with the Blackhawks, while Hossa has six in the past three.
With both teams among the league’s best offensive squads, goaltending could prove the biggest factor in Saturday’s game.
The Red Wings have averaged 3.52 goals, while the Blackhawks have found the net 3.35 times per contest. The teams have also combined for 24 goals in their last three meetings.
Chris Osgood started consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 11-13 and won his third straight Thursday despite allowing all five goals, including two in the final 11:40 that cut a three-goal lead to one with 1:25 remaining.
“It’s a good thing they didn’t get any more shots,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.
Because of Osgood’s inability to keep opponents from scoring late, the Red Wings alternated between Osgood and Ty Conklin for eight straight games until Thursday.
The Pittsburgh Penguins scored four times against Osgood in the third period Nov. 11, beating Detroit 7-6 in overtime. Two days later, Osgood gave up a goal with less than five minutes left against Tampa Bay, but Detroit hung on for a 4-3 win.
Conklin is 4-0-0 with a 2.10 goals-against average in five games against Chicago, including the Oct. 25 victory. In his last 16 games versus the Blackhawks, Osgood is 12-1-2 with a 2.10 GAA.
Chicago is 7-1-4 at home but 4-5-2 on the road. After winning three straight to start a recent six-game trip, the Blackhawks dropped the final three.
Chicago, however, had a strong performance in its return home, beating Anaheim 4-2 on Wednesday. The Blackhawks scored three times in the final 5:45 to rally from a one-goal deficit in the third.
Jonathan Toews broke a 2-all tie with 1:35 remaining.
“We had a couple of close chances around the net. Then (Kris Versteeg) made a great play,” said Toews, whose team had scored four goals in its three previous games. “You’ve just got to get your stick on those.”
By stopping 30 of 32 shots, Cristobal Huet broke a four-game losing streak. Huet has made three straight starts in place of Nikolai Khabibulin, who suffered a lower-body injury Nov. 26 against San Jose.
Huet has not faced the Red Wings since March 20, 2004 - a 4-2 loss for the Los Angeles Kings.
Detroit has won four of the last five meetings with the Blackhawks, but split the last four at Joe Louis Arena.