The Detroit Red Wings will be hosting the Chicago Blackhawks, at Joe Louis Arena, tonight, for the first time as teams playing in separate conferences.[table “46” not found /]
Statistically the Blackhawks have a big advantage. This is likely due to the fact that Detroit’s aging, but highly skilled roster has been brutally riddled with injuries, this season. With so many players injured, the Red Wings have been able to find ways to keep pucks out of their net, but have had trouble scoring. Their 5th ranked Penalty Kill will come in handy, as they will face the Blackhawk’s elite Power Play. Other than the killing penalties, the Hawks are either on par with, or vastly better than, the Red Wings, in most categories.
The Red Wings are currently, uncharacteristically floundering, in 6th place, in the Atlantic Division. They have a record of 21-18-10, and have gone a sub-par 4-5-1, in their last 10 games.
Luckily for Detroit, captain Henrik Zetterberg will be playing tonight, and is having yet another fine season. Niklas Kronwall will also be playing, and is the only player to play in ever game, this season, for the Wings. The remaining usual suspects, consisting of Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen, as well as newcomer, Daniel Alfredsson are all expected to miss tonight’s game, with various injuries.
In net, will be Jonas Gustavsson, who will be filling in for the injured star goaltender, Jimmy Howard. Gustavsson has had a solid season, as he has put up a .914 save percentage, in his 17 games played.
The Blackhawks are looking to keep the wins coming, as they have responded to their slump, with wins over the Anaheim Ducks and the Boston Bruins. Currently, the Hawks are in 1st place, in the Central Division, with a 32-8-11 record, and are 5-1-4, in their last 10 games.
In the midst of a slump, during his career year, so far, Patrick Kane will be looking to get back on track, after scoring a phenomenal shootout goal, against the Bruins. Patrick Sharp is also having a career year, and will look to continue to do so, against a familiar foe, in Detroit. Jonathan Toews continues to go quietly about his business of putting up solid points, while playing elite defense. Marian Hossa has recently started surging, offensively, and continues to play stellar defense. Duncan Keith continues his quest for Norris Trophy number 2.
In net figures to be Corey Crawford, who has been fantastic, since returning from injury. This season, Crawford has been solid, with a .912 save percentage, in 34 games played.
It might be a little strange watching these 2 teams playing as teams from different conferences, tonight. The rivalry would likely still be there, if Detroit was healthier. Regardless, the history between these 2 teams cannot be denied, and the Red Wings likely haven’t forgotten the Hawks’ dramatic comeback, in last season’s Western Conference Semi-Finals. It should indeed be a good game!