The Detroit Red Wings struggled to get past Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford, only scoring once in the first period. The Blackhawks scored twice in the second and earned their fourth goal just over 9 minutes into the third period.

Tomas Kopecky scored twice and Corey Crawford made 36 saves, lifting the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

Cory Emmerton scored in his NHL debut to give Detroit the lead midway through the first. Dave Bolland tied the game later in the period and Kopecky scored two times in the second against his former team to make it 3-1.

Detroit’s Jimmy Howard started strong before struggling a little and finishing with 29 saves.

Troy Brouwer also scored for defending champion Chicago, which is on a 5-0-1 streak. The banged-up Red Wings have won two of their last six.

Detroit found out before the game that the New York Islanders claimed goaltender Evgeni Nabokov off waivers after he signed a one-year contract with the Red Wings.

Nabokov couldn’t pick the place to resume his NHL career after starting the season playing in Russia.

The Central Division-leading Red Wings were hoping to add the 35-year-old Nabokov to help out while backup Chris Osgood recovers from hernia surgery and perhaps to push Howard, but lost him to a team that ranks among the league’s worst this season.

“I haven’t put much thought into it, but the Islanders are terrible so I’m not sure why they did that,” Osgood, a former New York goalie, said before Detroit played Chicago.

The Blackhawks, who couldn’t keep several players who helped them hoist the Stanley Cup, are 6-2-1 in January after barely being over .500 in each of the first three months.

The Red Wings, meanwhile, are reeling without injured players such as Pavel Datsyuk, Dan Cleary and Brad Stuart. They’re 5-4-1 this month after being 15 games over .500 from October through December.

Emmerton, one of many Detroit prospects getting a chance to play this season, scored on a wrist shot that deflected in off Crawford.

That was about the only break the Red Wings got.

Chicago, the NHL’s best team on the power play, tied it with an extra skater when Bolland scored late in the first period.

Kopecky, one of the contributors the Red Wings haven’t been able to keep because of the salary cap, scored his ninth and 10th goals this season to put Chicago ahead and to pad its lead.

Brouwer sealed the victory with a goal midway through the third period.

NOTES: Crawford is 16-8-2 in 26 games while Marty Turco is 10-10-2 in 25 games for the Blackhawks. … Datsyuk (right wrist), Cleary (left ankle), Stuart (jaw), Osgood (hernia), Mike Modano (right wrist) and Tomas Holmstrom (right hand) did not play and have combined to miss 72 games this season. … Bolland has a five-game points streak.

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