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Blackhawks shutout Wings to reclaim top spot

DETROIT (Reuters) - 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 at 3:47 in the third followed by a Toews goal with a little over one 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 0-for-5 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."

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)

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