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Wings' home win streak ends at 23

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Wings' home win streak ends at 23

From Comcast SportsNet
DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Red Wings took advantage of the shootout to win three times during their NHL-record, 23-game home winning streak. Detroit's good fortune in the one-on-one duels ran out and its run ended against the Vancouver Canucks. Alex Burrows scored the only goal in a shootout, which was made possible when Daniel Sedin scored his second goal of the game with 15.4 seconds left in regulation, to lift Vancouver to a 4-3 win over the Red Wings to snap their streak that lasted three-plus months. "It's disappointing it had to end like this," Detroit's Justin Abdelkader said. Detroit hadn't lost at Joe Louis Arena since Nov. 3 against Calgary, breaking the previous single-season mark of 20 shared by the 1929-30 Boston Bruins and 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers. "It's nice that we're the team that ended the streak," said Burrows, who lifted a backhander over Jimmy Howard when he went low. "It's remarkable to win that many games in a row on home ice." The Red Wings extended their run at home with three wins in shootouts -- a way to break ties that wasn't possible before the 2005-06 season -- but their coach said that didn't diminish the feat. "I don't care what era, it was just a real good run for the Red Wings that set us up in a good situation playoff-wise," Mike Babcock said. The NHL-leading Red Wings hold a one-point lead over Vancouver in the Western Conference. The Canucks have won a league-high 21 games on the road this season. A sold-out crowd stood during the shootout, which started with Roberto Luongo stopping Jiri Hudler's shot and Howard going low to smother David Booth's attempt. Henrik Zetterberg missed the net on Detroit's second attempt and Alexander Edler was denied on the ensuing opportunity. Todd Bertuzzi, who signed a two-year extension with the Red Wings earlier in the day, couldn't put his team ahead and Burrows took advantage of a chance to end the game -- and the streak. "It was an intense game with a playoff atmosphere," Luongo said. Luongo made 33 saves and Howard had 40. Detroit was 16 seconds from getting the win in regulation, but the Canucks pulled Luongo to have an extra skater in the Red Wings' end for a faceoff. On the next sequence, Sedin took a slap shot from the slot that Howard never saw after his teammates failed to clear the puck when it was behind the net. "We wanted to prove we could beat them on the road," Sedin said. "It was a good pass and a good screen in front of the goalie." Abdelkader scored with 6:14 left in the third period to give Detroit a 3-2 lead -- 20 seconds after Vancouver's Cody Hodgson tied the game. Newly acquired defenseman Kyle Quincey scored to put Detroit ahead 6:05 into the third period and Darren Helm had a goal 11:16 into the game to give the Red Wings a 1-0 lead. The Canucks refused to let the Red Wings get comfortable with the lead all night. Sedin tied it at 1 at 13:34 of the second and Hodgson tied it again, getting credit for a goal that went in off the right skate of Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall. Detroit led 1-0 after the first period despite being outplayed. Vancouver outshot the Red Wings 17-5 in the first, but defenseman Kevin Bieksa had the puck poked away by Helm and his fluttering wrist shot got past Luongo at 11:16. Detroit didn't do much with three power plays in the first, going scoreless and getting only one shot combined with an extra skater. "We got skated into the ground in the first period," Babcock said. "They played better for longer than us and they won the game." The Red Wings looked out of sync, missing playmaking center Pavel Datsyuk for a second game. Datsyuk, the team's leading scorer, is expected to be out for two weeks after having right knee surgery Tuesday. "The best player in the world, any time he goes out, you're going to miss him," Abdelkader said. "It's a big void." Sedin tied the game at 1 at 13:34 of the second. Detroit outshot the Canucks 15-8 in the second period, but had nothing to show for it. The Red Wings created more chances in the third period, especially when Abdelkader swiped at a puck in the crease that Luongo didn't cover, but they couldn't find a way to win again in the Motor City. "For us to come in here and play well and show that we can beat them means a lot," Burrows said. "But there's a lot of work ahead and if we face them in the playoffs, it will start 0-0." NOTES: Bertuzzi, a former Canucks forward, signed a two-year deal worth just more than 4 million. ... Vancouver tied the series at 2 in the final scheduled game against Detroit. ... Quincey played in the first game of his second stint with the Red Wings, who drafted him in 2003. They acquired Quincey for a first-round pick and prospect Sebastien Piche from Tampa Bay on Tuesday in a three-team trade with Colorado.

2017 Bears position grades: Inside Linebacker

2017 Bears position grades: Inside Linebacker

2017 grade: B+

Level of need: Low

Decisions to be made on: Christian Jones (free agent), John Timu (free agent), Jonathan Anderson (free agent); Jerrell Freeman has reportedly been cut

Possible free agent targets: Demario Davis, Preston Brown, Anthony Hitchens, Avery Williamson, Navorro Bowman, Derrick Johnson

How the Bears rate Nick Kwiatkoski will be the key to figuring out what this unit will look like in 2018. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio thought Kwiatkoski finished last season strong, but strong enough to rely on him in 2018 as the starter next to Danny Trevathan?

The thing with the Bears’ inside linebackers, though: Trevathan makes whoever is playing next to him better. The problem is Trevathan hasn’t been able to stay on the field — he missed time in 2017 with a calf injury and a one-game suspension, and missed half of 2016 after rupturing his Achilles’. Trevathan hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2013, so durability is an issue for the soon-to-be 28-year-old.

So that leads to this question: Do the Bears need to find someone in free agency, regardless of how they value Kwiatkoski, who’s also missed time due to injuries in his first two years in the league?

Free agency could provide a few options. Demario Davis had a career high 97 tackles for the New York Jets last year and has never missed a game as a pro. Preston Brown had some decent production in Buffalo and also hasn’t missed a game since being drafted in 2014. Avery Williamson may not be a world-beater but has only missed one game in his four years in the NFL.

The Bears could also opt for someone who fits more of a rotational mold, like Dallas’ Anthony Hitchens, or try to lure a veteran linebacker like Navorro Bowman (who played for Vic Fangio in San Francisco) or Derrick Johnson (who Matt Nagy knows from his Kansas City days) to play next to Trevathan and/or Kwiatkoski.

The Bears could opt to keep the status quo and re-sign Christian Jones and John Timu for depth, and enter 2018 with Kwiatkoski and Trevathan as the team’s starters (Jerrell Freeman, who suffered a season-ending injury and then was hit with his second PED suspension in as many years, was cut on Tuesday). Signing a starting-caliber free agent isn’t out of the question, either, but there is a third option for the Bears if they appear to stand pat in free agency: Draft an inside linebacker in April. If that’s the route they go, Georgia’s Roquan Smith could be the guy. But again, those more pressing needs at other positions could mean the Bears don’t burn a first-round pick on an inside linebacker.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?