Leighton responded by making 20 saves in a 3-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday night for his second shutout in three games.
“Our team played great in front of me,” Leighton said. “I just made the saves I had to. This was the easiest game I played all year. Whenever there was a rebound, our ‘D’ was there right away to fire it out.”
The shutout was Leighton’s second this season and the third of his career.
Nathan Dempsey, Tuomo Ruutu and Deron Quint scored for the Blackhawks, who won for just the third time in 23 games (3-13-4-3). Two of Chicago’s victories during its current skid have come against Detroit.
“It’s the Detroit Red Wings and we seem to get cranked up for them and St. Louis because they’re in our division,” Dempsey said. “We get excited about it. You can tell from the quality of the hockey.”
The Red Wings lead the NHL with 126 goals, but have scored just four in their last four games. They’re 1-2-1 and have been shut out twice during that span.
Detroit failed to convert on six power-play chances and haven’t scored in 20 straight opportunities with the man advantage.
“We didn’t play well at all,” Detroit’s Brendan Shanahan said. “We were stupid. We made poor decisions . Our commitment to work and battle, (was) maybe the lowest it’s been in any game this year.”
Red Wings goalie Manny Legace stopped 24 shots, including a glove save on a point-blank backhand attempt by Chicago’s Brett McLean with 5:54 to go in the first period. McLean was alone in the crease and took a pass from Ruutu.
Dempsey opened the scoring 90 seconds later when his shot from the right corner struck Legace and then slipped between the goalie’s pad and the post.
Ruutu’s power-play goal with 1:36 left in the second gave Chicago a 2-0 lead. Tyler Arnason’s backhand shot from the slot deflected in off Ruutu’s leg.
Leighton made a point-blank save on Henrik Zetterberg seven minutes into the third.
Quint finished off the scoring with a power-play goal from the left point with 4:23 left in the game.
The game drew 21,122 for Chicago’s second sellout this season.
About half of the fans wore Red Wings apparel. … Red Wings D Jason Woolley missed the game with a bruised foot. He’s day to day. … Chicago C Alex Zhamnov, who underwent surgery to repair a herniated disc on Oct. 16., could return to action this week. … He had hoped to play Sunday, but was scratched after the morning skate. … Chicago D Bryan Berard missed his eighth game with a pulled groin. Blackhawks D Jason Strudwick missed his fifth game with a sore shoulder. Both are out day to day. … Detroit made its final regular-season appearance in Chicago on Sunday. The Blackhawks and Red Wingsplay only once more this season, on Jan. 14 in Detroit.