DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings took care of the Western Conference's second seed in the first round and now they've got the advantage on the No. 1 seed.
Jimmy Howard made 39 saves, and Detroit, which finished seventh and beat the Anaheim Ducks in the first round, beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 at Joe Louis Arena on Monday night to take a 2-1 series lead over the Presidents' Trophy winners in the Western Conference semifinals.
"As the year has gone on, we've gotten better. You have to play good enough and long enough to get some confidence," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We got real good leadership. ... and we've got a bunch of kids who work hard."
Game 4 is Thursday night in Detroit.
Gustav Nyquist and Drew Miller scored 31 seconds apart in the second period, and Pavel Datsyuk added a third-period goal for Detroit.
"We don't want to get too high or two low; that's what Nicklas Lidstrom always used to say," Red Wings' defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said. "That's what we can't do. We just have to stay the course."
Patrick Kane got Chicago's lone goal, and Corey Crawford stopped 27 shots. The Blackhawks got points in their first 24 games of the season en route on a 36-7-5 record.
"We haven't had a lot of adversity this year and we just have to dig deep and battle," Crawford said.
Kane's goal 4:35 into the third cut the Blackhawks' deficit to 2-1. He scored on a breakaway, beating Howard between the pads. It was Kane's second goal, and came seconds after Chicago's Niklas Hjalmarsson checked Detroit's Johan Franzen into the boards -- apparently from behind -- at the other end of the ice, leaving Franzen on the ice. Franzen went back to the bench where he was tended to by Red Wings trainer Piet Van Zant, and he returned to the game.
"It should've been a two-minute penalty," Babcock said. "But this is the way I look at it: Those refs are trying to get to the Stanley Cup Finals, too, and it's fast. When I go in there and watch the replay, I go, 'That's a penalty.' They don't get to watch a replay."
The Blackhawks had an apparent goal waved off 5:42 into the third period because Andrew Shaw was in the crease.
"I disagree with the call. He didn't touch the goalie," said Chicago coach Joel Quenneville.
Datsyuk restored Detroit's two-goal lead 6:46 into the third when he beat Crawford with a wrist shot from the left circle, high on the short side. It was Datsyuk's third goal of the playoffs.
Detroit's third and fourth lines produced the second-period surge.
Nyquist opened the scoring at 7:49 of the middle period when he took a pass off the boards, cut in off the right wing, put the puck between the skates of Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook, held onto the puck as he cut across the slot and beat Crawford -- who was out of position -- from deep in the left circle.
"I'm crossing over, pushing the pace and try to make a move on the D," Nyquist said. "Went around him and faked a shot and tried to get Crawford down a little bit and then go around him. Fortunately it went in."
It was Nyquist's second goal of the playoffs.
Miller, who was playing in his second game since returning from a broken hand suffered on April 20, made it 2-0 at 8:20 when he poked in a puck that was lying in the crease.
The Blackhawks outshot the Red Wings 40-30, including a 17-7 margin in the third period.
NOTES: Chicago right winger Viktor Stalberg returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the first two games of the series. He returned to his usual spot on the third line with Shaw and Bryan Bickell. Dave Bolland, who played on that line the first two games against Detroit, moved to the second line with Kane and Brandon Saad. ... LW Daniel Carcillo was a healthy scratch. ... With a few young players coming of age, Detroit's upset of Anaheim in the first round and being tied with the Blackhawks at a game apiece coming into Monday night's Game 3, Babcock said this is the most fun he's had had coaching in a couple of years. ... Quenneville has never beaten the Red Wings in a playoff series. He has lost to Detroit five times -- in 1997, 1998 and 2002 as coach of the St. Louis Blues, 2008 with the Colorado Avalanche and 2009 with the Blackhawks.