12PM Joe Louis Arena Detroit, MI
Radio: ESPN 1000 AM (Cubs game is on WGN)
The Blackhawks and their oldest rival the Detroit Red Wings will put an end to another long 82 game regular season today. This will not have the drama of last year’s season finale where the Hawks needed to win to clinch a playoff spot but it still has a lot riding on the outcome. If the Blackhawks win in regulation they will get the 5th seed in the Western Conference. The Wings can still get the 4th seed with a win and a Nashville loss in regulation. So the “winner” gets the Nashville Predators in the 1st round. Besides the playoff seeding at stake, this is a Hawks/Wings game. To all you newer fans who think the Vancouver Canucks are the Hawks biggest rival, they are not. It is still and always will be the Detroit Red Wings. Jimmy Howard gets the start in net for the Wings. He is 1-2 with a 2.38 goals against average and a .910 save % in 4 games versus the Blackhawks this year. He has struggled against Chicago in his career going 4-6-1 with a 2.97 GAA and a .897 save %. Valtteri Flippula and his bleached blond hair has 4 points (2G, 2A) versus the Hawks this year and life long scumbag Todd Bertuzzi has 3 goals. Darren Helm (knee), Joey MacDonald (back) and Patrick Eaves (injured reserve/concussion) are out for the Red Wings.
The Blackhawks will start Corey Crawford between the pipes today. Crow has been very good against Detroit this season going 2-0-2 with a 2.19 GAA and a .931 save % in 4 starts. Crawford has been solid down the stretch for the Hawks and is looking to head into the post season on a high note. Jonathan Toews, Andrew Brunette and Dave Bolland will all miss today’s game. Coach Q is insisting that Bruno and Bolly will be ready for Game 1 of the playoffs. There has been no word on if Tazer will be ready for the start of the playoffs. At this point, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Sami Lepisto returns to the lineup today after suffering a leg injury back on March 6th. Not sure who sits today on the blue line but Lepisto skated with Sean O’Donnell in practice so the odd men out could be both Niklas Hjalmarrson and Dylan Olsen. By the end of the night we will know where the Hawks will be headed for their playoff series. 9 of today’s 15 NHL games have playoff seeding implications so it will be a fun filled day of hockey. The best 2 months of the year are almost upon us. Are you excited for the Stanley Cup Playoffs? I know I am!!