The Red Wings had only praise for the surging young Blackhawks before Tuesday's game at Joe Louis Arena.
Then they went out the served up a big reminder that they're still the Stanley Cup champs.
Detroit took advantage of some bad Hawks penalties to score a pair of power-play goals en route to a 4-0 victory that snapped the Hawks' winning streak at nine and restored their Central Division lead to 6 points.
"They're a top team for the right reasons," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "They respond to important games, and we can learn from that."
It was a rare rough night all around for the Hawks, who saw Patrick Kane miss most of the first period with a right-ankle injury after he was hit by Dan Cleary. Kane returned to start the second period but was off his game and no factor the rest of the way.
"It was pretty scary, but I should be fine," Kane said.
The good thing is the Hawks don't have to wait long for some revenge as they face the Red Wings on Thursday at Wrigley Field in the 2009 Winter Classic.
The Hawks claimed to have no problem with Cleary's hit, even though it appeared he got his elbow into Kane's face. Kane crumpled to the ice, his right leg twisting under him.
"I'm not complaining about that hit," Quenneville said.
"It was a clean hit," Kane said. "I guess he got me the right way."
The Hawks had chances early to get a lead, but Red Wings goalie Ty Conklin was strong on two power plays in the first eight minutes. The Hawks were 0-for-6 on the power play but had some good movement and chances (16 power-play shots).
"We did some good things on our power play not to have any production at the end of the night," Quenneville said.
A hooking penalty by Dustin Byfuglien well behind the play led to Pavel Datsyuk's power-play goal through a Tomas Holmstrom screen at 15:51 of the first.
Kris Versteeg was serving another penalty taken behind the play when Johan Franzen scored early in the second period to make it 2-0. Versteeg's penalty came moments after he missed a mostly wide-open net.
The Red Wings outshot the Hawks 20-8 in the second period with Nikolai Khabibulin keeping the score close.
Franzen got his second goal of the game 37 seconds into the third period, and the Hawks couldn't recover. It was the Hawks' first loss in regulation since Nov. 29 at Los Angeles, ending a 10-0-1 run that saw them collect 21 out of a possible 22 points.
Now it's finally on to the Winter Classic.
"I think Thursday we're definitely going to have to step up our intensity and our discipline as well," Jonathan Toews said. "This was a good game to motivate us for Thursday. We've got to want to win a little more than we did tonight."
"We had a nice little run here, but we've got a big game coming up and we should be excited about it," Quenneville said.