(SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Red Wings hope to snap their longest losing streak since mid-December when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks for Wednesday's Original Six battle at United Center.
Detroit has lost its last three games, giving the club its longest skid of the season from Dec. 10-21 when it dropped six straight. The Red Wings were able to follow that 0-2-4 stretch by posting a 14-4-0 record from Dec. 23-Feb. 7 before their current slide.
The Red Wings fell to 0-2-1 with Monday's 2-0 setback against visiting Montreal, which moved six points ahead of third-place Detroit for the top spot in the Atlantic Division. Detroit is four points behind Tampa Bay in the division and eight ahead of fourth-place Boston.
Detroit was tied at 0-0 with the Habs before Tomas Plekanec broke a scoreless game scored with 2:30 remaining in the third period. Max Pacioretty added an empty-net goal to account for the final margin, while Carey Price frustrated the Red Wings' offense with a 25-save shutout.
Jimmy Howard was the tough-luck loser, stopping 27-of-28 shots for the Red Wings. It was the second start for Howard since returning from a groin injury.
"It's great to have him back and obviously he was really good tonight," said Wings forward Gustav Nyquist. "I thought there were two good goaltenders going up against each other."
Plekanec beat Howard with a slap shot from the high slot after Detroit's netminder stopped a shot by Pacioretty. However, the puck went to the boards where Dale Weise backhanded a pass to Plekanec, setting up the game-winner.
Howard could make a third straight start tonight. He is 5-8-5 with a 2.76 goals against average in 19 career games against Chicago.
Detroit will try to get back on track tonight when it kicks off a six-game road trip. The Red Wings are 14-9-3 as the guest this season, but they have lost four straight and five of their last six home games when facing Chicago.
The Blackhawks have claimed eight of the past 10 meetings against Detroit overall, but the Wings have won two of the last three.
Chicago enters Wednesday on a two-game win streak and the third-place team in the Central Division also has gained a point in each of its last six outings (4-0-2).
The Blackhawks last played on Sunday when it recorded a 2-1 shootout victory against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. Patrick Sharp's goal in the third round of the shootout provided the difference for Joel Quenneville's club.
After each of the first four skaters of the deciding phase scored, Corey Crawford made a glove save on the Penguins' Kris Letang to begin the third round and Sharp followed by rifling a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Blackhawks the two points.
"Anytime you get two points and a win against a tough team like that, it's a good situation," said Patrick Kane, one of three Blackhawks to score in the shootout.
Crawford helped force the shootout by coming up with 36 saves through overtime, with Niklas Hjalmarsson accounting for the Blackhawks' regulation goal.
The Blackhawks will go with Crawford in net again tonight. He owns stellar career numbers versus Detroit, posting a 12-3-3 record and 1.95 GAA in this series.
Chicago enters tonight with a four-point lead over Winnipeg for third in the division. It also trails second-place St. Louis by four points.