Fri, Dec 25, 2009 - Page 20 News List

NHL : Blackhawks go top after downing the Red Wings

AP AND REUTERS , WASHINGTON AND DETROIT, MICHIGAN

The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-0 on Wednesday to move back to the top of the NHL Western Conference standings.

Goaltender Antti Niemi made 33 saves, while Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews all scored as the Blackhawks recorded their second shutout win over the Red Wings in four days.

The result lifted Chicago (24-9-3) back to the top of the standings, level on points with the San Jose Sharks, who beat the Blackhawks 3-2 on Tuesday.

“There were some pretty strong performances, not only from our defense but from our goaltenders,” Sharp told reporters. “Antti made the big saves today, but defensively we were pretty sound.”

Jimmy Howard made 28 saves for Detroit (18-14-5), who have lost their last three games.

The Red Wings fell behind when Kane gave the visitors the lead 30 seconds into the second period. Sharp followed up with a close-range effort after 3 minutes, 47 seconds of the third, followed by a Toews goal with a little over a minute remaining.

The game marked the return to Detroit for winger Marian Hossa after he departed for Chicago in the offseason via free agency. He recorded an assist and was booed by the Red Wings crowd for much of the night.

The Red Wings, who defeated the Blackhawks in last year’s conference finals, have fallen behind in the West as they deal with injuries to top players, including Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen.

Still Detroit had chances, but went none-for-five on power-play opportunities.

“They’re a good team, and when they play hard and we play hard. Right now they’re better,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “They were better two nights in a row. It’s that simple.”

CAPITALS 5, SABRES 2

In Washington, the Capitals extended their lead atop the NHL’s Southeast Division with a win over the Buffalo Sabres in Wednesday’s clash between two of the Eastern Conference’s title contenders.

Nicklas Backstrom had two goals, while Alex Ovechkin added a goal and two assists for Washington, who have lost just twice in regulation in 16 games on home ice this season.

Mike Green had a goal and an assist, while Brendan Morrison also scored for the Capitals.

Buffalo, whose lead in the Northeast Division was cut to four points, got goals from Paul Gaustad and Tim Connolly.

PENGUINS 8, SENATORS 2

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the hosts dominated Ottawa to ensure they enter the Christmas period equal top of the NHL standings.

Evgeni Malkin had his fourth career hat-trick, while Bill Guerin added two goals and two assists for the Penguins, who joined Atlantic Division rivals New Jersey as the league leaders, though the Devils have three games in hand.

Guerin and Chris Kunitz tied a club record with four points apiece during Pittsburgh’s five-goal second period, when Ruslan Fedotenko also scored. Sergei Gonchar also netted for the Penguins, who tied a season high for goals.

Anton Volchenkov and Chris Kelly scored for Ottawa.

COYOTES 4, DUCKS 0

In Glendale, Arizona, Phoenix made it eight straight home wins by cruising past Anaheim.

Ilya Bryzgalov made 21 saves for his NHL-leading fifth shutout of the season. Scottie Upshall scored his third goal in two games. Martin Hanzal, Taylor Pyatt and Robert Lang also scored as the Coyotes moved into fourth place in the Western Conference.

BRUINS 6, THRASHERS 4

In Boston, Marc Savard, Daniel Paille and Vladimir Sobotka scored within 68 seconds of the first period, while Savard also added two assists as Boston beat Atlanta.

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