CHICAGO – Cristobal Huet and the Chicago Blackhawks had an easier time than usual in beating the rival Detroit Red Wings on Sunday night.
Huet made 20 saves for his second straight shutout, and Duncan Keith had a goal and an assist to lead the Blackhawks to a 3-0 victory over Detroit. Brian Campbell and Dustin Byfuglien also scored to help Chicago move back into first place in the Central Division. Detroit, shutout for the fourth time in its last 15 games, has lost two straight.
Huet, also a 3-0 winner over St. Louis on Wednesday night, had to make only a handful of tough saves against the injury-depleted Red Wings en route to his third shutout this season, 23rd overall and first against Detroit.
Over the past several seasons, Chicago’s meetings with Detroit – winners of eight straight Central Division titles – usually have been rollicking. On Sunday, however, the Blackhawks controlled and subdued the Red Wings, who skated without eight regulars and played the second of back-to-back road games.
“We respect Detroit very much, even though they’re missing a lot of top guys, and key guys,” Huet said. “We knew it would be a tight game, so we were disciplined and it paid off.”
Among the injured Red Wings was scoring leader Henrik Zetterberg. He missed his second game because of a shoulder injury and will be out at least two weeks.
On Detroit’s two best chances, Huet made a glove save on Ville Leino late in the first period, and a pad save on Brad Stuart midway through the second.
“They’re still a top team in the league” Huet said. “They still have (Nicklas) Lidstrom and (Brian) Rafalski and (Pavel) Datsyuk. They’re going to have a full lineup; it should be a good test.”
If the Blackhawks were using the Red Wings as measuring stick, it seemed shorter than usual.
“We always want to be our best,” Keith said. “This (Detroit) has been a good for a long time. Do we want to measure ourselves? I think we want to do that against every team, every time.”
Detroit’s Chris Osgood stopped 32 shots.
“I thought they (Chicago) had the puck most of the game,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “On back-to-back nights, we knew were going to have to play well defensively and we knew our goaltending was going to have to be outstanding.
“They’re a deep team right now and we’re not a very deep team right now. Matchup-wise, it was tough for us.”
Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa played his first game against the Red Wings, his previous team, since signing as a free agent with Chicago in July. Hossa spent parts of the past two seasons in Motown.
Hossa was recovering from off-season shoulder surgery when Detroit beat Chicago 3-2 on Oct. 8 in the teams’ only previous meeting this season.
Chicago dominated most of the the first period and led 1-0 after 20 minutes on Keith’s power-play goal at 7:58. Keith’s quick wrist shot from the left point fooled Osgood and sailed past him on the glove side.
Campbell and Byfuglien scored in a 3:22 span late in the second period.
Campbell scored with 3:55 left in the second. He pinched to the left circle, took Patrick Sharp’s feed and fired a shot that struck Osgood on the stick side and continued into the net.
Byfuglien’s 40-foot shot from the slot slid under Osgood’s outstretched right pad with 33 second left in the period.
“Obviously those two goals at the end of the second absolutely killed us,” Babcock said. “We played with no energy in the third.”
Detroit’s best chance in the third came on Drew Miller’s shot from the left circle with 5:08 left.
Notes: Chicago D Cam Barker sat out with a lower-body injury and LW Ben Eager missed his second game because of an upper-body injury. D Niklas Hjalmarsson returned after sitting out one game with the flu. … Detroit had killed 37 of 38 penalties before Keith scored his power-play goal in the first period. … The season-high crowd of 21,781 was the Blackhawks’ 70th straight sellout.