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Chicago — Seven shootouts, no wins.

This time, though, Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard reminded himself how good it feels to be on the other side.

Howard and the Wings defeated Chicago, 3-2, in a shootout at the United Center on Wednesday night. For Howard, a weight had been lifted after going 0-for-7 this season, while the Wings improved to 3-8.

"It feels good. Long time coming," Howard said. "It feels extra special against the group that's so talented over there."

The Wings, which twice took the lead during regulation only to allow quick tying goals, had to come from behind in the shootout. Jonathan Toews scored in the first round for Chicago after Pavel Datsyuk missed, then Gustav Nyquist scored for the Wings, and Patrick Kane missed.

Tomas Tatar scored on the Wings' third attempt, and Patrick Sharp missed to give the Red Wings the rare shootout victory.

"A shootout is like a roulette," Tatar said. "We don't have a good stat this year, but we're glad we beat them. I don't get (the 3-8 record) either, to be honest. I'm surprised with the skill we have, it's kind of weird. It seems like we can do lots of things on the ice when we play five on five and all of a sudden shootouts come, and we have a tough time scoring a goal."

The Red Wings opened the game sluggishly, while the Blackhawks outshot them 17-6 in the scoreless first period.

Tatar gave the Wings a 1-0 lead late in the second period, but Brandon Saad tied the game 40 seconds later. A similar scenario occurred in the third period when Darren Helm scored, his goal glancing off Brent Seabrook's knee, and seconds later Kris Versteeg scored the tying goal, which appeared to deflect off the Wings' Niklas Kronwall.

"We played really tight, they played tight, as well," Tatar said. "There wasn't many great chances. We had leads twice and we let them tie the game real fast, which put them back on the horse."

The Wings were aggressive in overtime, attacking Blackhawks' goalie Corey Crawford with a flurry of three shots, including a strong attempt by Helm.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock wasn't thrilled with how the team started, but liked how well Howard, in his third game since returning from injury, played and how the team got stronger as the game wore on.

"Once we started getting competitive and got heavy on our stick and won some battles, I think we got a lot better," Babcock said. "It was one of those games that they were way heavier on their stick. They skated and won more races early, and we watched them. Once we got competing, things went better for us.

"We were fortunate we had some guys really dig in for us, including (Howard), but we have to be better than we were tonight."

This was the launching point for an important six-game road stretch for the Wings over the next 11 days against some of the top Western Conference teams. They return home from Chicago and then head off to face Dallas on Saturday, then Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose and Nashville.

The Wings entered the game against Chicago 0-2-1 over the last three games, including a 2-0 shutout against Montreal on Monday. They have said this road stretch ultimately will give them insight into how much of a run they can make in the postseason.

Babcock said this victory was important on several levels.

"We lost the last game, and we had lost to Winnipeg in the shootout — you don't want to keep losing, you want to get back on track," Babcock said. "That's important. You want to find ways to get points. We've got to make the playoffs. We've just got to get into the playoffs."

angelique.chengelis@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/chengelis

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