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Blackhawks rally late but fall to Wings in OT

Jonathan Toews sticks it Pavel Datsyuk third period. Toews scored tying goal with 51.7 seconds left. | Carlos Osorio~AP

Jonathan Toews sticks it to Pavel Datsyuk in the third period. Toews scored the tying goal with 51.7 seconds left. | Carlos Osorio~AP

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The facts: 6, Ch. 9, 720-AM.

Updated: February 16, 2012 8:31AM

DETROIT — There isn’t a tougher division to get through to make the playoffs in the NHL than the Central. It’s the only division that has four teams with more than 50 points.

So there were some feelings of contentment in the Blackhawks’ locker room after they rallied from a two-goal hole to grab a point in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.

“There’s more pressure simply because more than one or two teams can grab that top spot [in the division],” said forward Jonathan Toews, who scored the game-tying goal with 51.7 seconds left in regulation.

“Every single game that you play a division team is going to be a battle because everyone is in the hunt. Mentally, everyone wants to keep going and push themselves for that top spot in the division.”

Despite the point, there are concerns.

The Hawks have 11 games left against the Red Wings, Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues. The Red Wings and Blues also happen to be two of the best teams at home this season.

On Saturday, the Red Wings endured a Hawks rally, only to dominate overtime and win it on Todd Bertuzzi’s goal with 38.3 seconds left. They have won 14 in a row at home, tying a franchise record.

“Our goal is to win our division and try to have the best position before the playoffs, and it’s not going to be easy playing these guys,” said forward Marian Hossa, who fired the shot that deflected off defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom and led to Toews’ goal.

“It’s always tough to come to this building and play against this team. For whatever reason, they play strongly at home all the time. It’s never easy to take points from this building.”

But the Hawks’ slow start for a nationally televised game was tough to explain. They were outshot 21-4 in the first period, when Tomas Holmstrom (power play) and Bertuzzi (breakaway) scored for the Red Wings.

“It was a terrible start to the game,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “There was too much standing around.”

The Hawks needed a fortunate bounce to beat Jimmy Howard, who had 25 saves, including a point-blank stop on Michael Frolik in the first, in a strong game. In a much tighter second period, defenseman Nick Leddy fired the puck around the boards, and Howard tried to play it behind the net. But the puck caromed in front of the goal, and Andrew Shaw put it in the vacated net.

The Hawks had a strong start in the third, but a failed four-minute power play gave the Red Wings’ the momentum until Toews scored. After that, the Red Wings showed why it’s so tough to beat them at home, outshooting the Hawks 9-0 in overtime.

“When you get to that point when you work your way back in a game like that, you feel like that extra point is yours,” Toews said. “It is a little disappointing. We know the last two games have gone to overtime against this team and we’ve come up short both times. If you look at it that way, we’ve got to learn from it and be better next time we play these guys.”

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