DETROIT – The Chicago Blackhawks are on one of their good streaks.
Alternating losing and winning streaks of at least three games since the middle of January, Chicago got a goal and an assist from Patrick Sharp, and Patrick Kane broke a tie late in the second period in a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 on Sunday.
Ray Emery made 23 saves to help Chicago solidify its hold on the sixth playoff spot in the Western Conference. It was the Blackhawks’ third straight victory after a three-game losing streak, which came after a four-game winning streak that followed a nine-game skid.
“You know over the course of a season, you’re going to have some good stretches and some tough stretches,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “We extended our last (tough stretch) too far.”
The consensus in the Blackhawks’ dressing room was they played a complete game.
“Just playing that team game we’ve been seeking for the whole season,” forward Jamal Myers said.
Niklas Kronwall scored for Detroit, 27-4-2 at home. Jimmy Howard made four saves before leaving after the first period because of a lower-body injury. Joey MacDonald stopped 12 shots in the final two periods. Howard is day-to-day.
“I don’t think it’s too serious. I’ll get it looked at tomorrow morning and we’ll go from there,” Howard said. “Throughout the period it was just getting tighter and tighter. They decided to take me out.
Red Wings defenceman Jakub Kindl also left early in the first period because of an upper-body injury. Detroit coach Mike Babcock said Kindl’s status is uncertain.
Detroit already was without captain Nicklas Lidstrom, centre Pavel Datsyuk and defenceman Jonathan Ericsson. Lidstrom missed his third game because of a deep bone bruise in his right ankle and is expected to sit out at least one more game. Datsyuk is recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, and Ericsson has a broken left wrist.
“I think that’s something we have to fight our way through,” Kronwall said. “Injuries come throughout the year.”
Kane scored with 1:19 left in the second period.
Sharp set up Kane with a blind back pass after stripping the puck from Detroit defenceman Brad Stuart behind the net.
“I heard him call for it, so I just threw it out front,” Sharp said.
Kane made a move and backhanded a shot past MacDonald from the front of the net.
“We had it behind the net, got stripped and then its out in front,” MacDonald said.
Sharp opened the scoring 3:47 into the game on a power play. His slap shot from the left point deflected in off Kronwall’s skate. It was Sharp’s 25th goal.
Kronwall tied it at 6:03 of the first with his 14th goal. He beat Emery with a one-timed slap shot from the left point.
NOTES: Detroit recalled forward Chris Conner from Grand Rapids of the AHL on Saturday night and returned him there after the game. … Stuart had an assist for his 300th NHL point. … Sharp has 15 goals and 30 points in 40 career games against Detroit. … Red Wings rookie defenceman Brendan Smith and the Blackhawks’ Andrew Shaw fought with 3:18 left in the second period. Smith was clearly the winner. … The loss snapped MacDonald’s winning streak at seven games.