By MATT CARLSON/Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) – Nick Leddy scored 2:45 into overtime and the Chicago Blackhawks improved to 6-0 – the best start in franchise history – with a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday night.
After taking a cross-ice pass from Viktor Stalberg, Leddy fired from the left circle and beat Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard with a shot that slipped just under his glove.
Detroit’s Johan Franzen connected early in the third to tie the game at 1 and set up overtime.
Duncan Keith scored a power-play goal in the first period for Chicago, and Corey Crawford finished with 29 saves in his fifth start in six games.
Howard, who has started all five of Detroit’s games, made 25 saves.
The Blackhawks started 5-0 in 1971-72 – Hall of Famer Bobby Hull’s final season in Chicago – and matched it on Saturday night with a 3-2 win in Columbus.
Chicago killed all six of Detroit’s power plays, improving to 22 of 23 this season. Injury-depleted Detroit has gone just 2 for 26 with the man advantage so far.
Chicago has won four straight against Detroit, dating to Feb. 21, 2012. The Blackhawks and Red Wings met for the 722th time, the most of any two NHL opponents. Sunday’s game was only the Blackhawks’ second at home, and they begin a six-game road trip Wednesday in Minnesota. The Blackhawks don’t skate at home again until Feb. 12 as they play 10 of their first 12 games away from the United Center.
Keith scored the only goal of the first period, during a power play 2:24 in.
Crawford had to be sharp to preserve the lead in second. Early in the period, he made close-in saves on Todd Bertuzzi and Henrik Zetterberg. And the Blackhawks needed Crawford as they ran into penalty trouble in the second. Detroit was unable to convert any of four straight power plays beginning midway through the second, including a 43-second 5-on-3 advantage.
The Blackhawks started the third on their heels, and Franzen finally tied it at 1 with an even-strength goal at 4:30 of the period. After Zetterberg’s shot was blocked, Franzen picked up the loose puck and closed in from the right circle. He got by Keith and beat Crawford with a shot between the legs.
Crawford made a point-blank stop on Cory Emmerton midway through the third to preserve the tie.
Howard then made sprawling saves on Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews during a Chicago power play with just under 5 minutes left in the third. Keith’s shot a minute-and-a-half later hit the post.
Crawford stopped Franzen’s prime chance 1:30 into overtime.
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