The surprising Detroit Red Wings will try to extend their lead in the Western Conference semifinals when they host the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks in Thursday's Game 4 at Joe Louis Arena.
The seventh-seeded Red Wings lost Game 1 of this series by a 4-1 score before taking the next two meetings by a combined margin of 7-2. Jimmy Howard was stellar in Monday's Game 3 triumph, stopping 39 shots to help Detroit record a 3-1 win in the Motor City.
Chicago hopes to even this best-of-seven series on Thursday, but the Presidents' Trophy winners are just 2-3 as the road team in the playoffs. Detroit, meanwhile, is 3-1 at Joe Louis Arena during this postseason.
Pavel Datsyuk, Gustav Nyquist and Drew Miller all scored goals for the Red Wings on Monday. Howard made 15 saves during a scoreless first period and also turned aside 16-of-17 shots in the third.
"Our hard work has been paying off," said Howard. "Guys have been taking the body and blocking shots. We're playing with a lot of heart right now and we have to keep it going."
Patrick Kane had the lone goal while Corey Crawford gave up all three goals on 30 shots for the Blackhawks
"They're playing really well right now and have a lot of things going their way," said Kane. "We just have to re-group because I thought we played very well tonight. It's going to be a good series."
The Blackhawks went 0-for-4 on the power play and are just 1-for-9 on the man advantage in this series. However, Chicago still hasn't allowed a power-play goal in this postseason, killing off all 29 of the opposition's chances with the man advantage.
Chicago thought it had tied the game at 2-2 early in the third period only to see the goal waved off due to a controversial goaltender interference call.
Just over a minute after Chicago cut the deficit to 2-1 on Kane's goal, they had another score disallowed. Viktor Stalberg fired a shot on net from the right side that went in, but Andrew Shaw was ruled to have interfered with Howard. Several replays, however, failed to show Shaw making contact with the goaltender.
"Disagree," said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville when asked what he thought of the call.
Shortly after the controversial call Detroit got its two-goal lead back at 6:46 as Datsyuk roofed a wrister over Crawford.
On the injury front, Detroit forward Mikael Samuelsson sat out Game 3 after suffering an undisclosed injury in practice on Tuesday. He is questionable for Thursday's contest.
These Central Division and Original Six foes also have met 15 times in the playoffs and Chicago has taken eight of those series. However, Detroit has claimed the last two postseason encounters, including a five-game series win when the franchise's last met in the playoffs in the 2009 Western Conference finals.