Game Preview: Chicago Blackhawks to Renew Rivalry with Detroit Red Wings


Jan 22, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) looks to get around Detroit Red Wings right wing Luke Glendening (41) during the second period at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Well, they aren’t exactly renewing their rivalry, in a literal sense, but now that the Chicago Blackhawks face the Detroit Red Wings only twice per season, now, it’s hard not to get a little nostalgic, when they faceoff.

Let’s see how the formal rivals, now interconference foes matchup.

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Like against just about every team, in the NHL, the Blackhawks have the advantage.  However, as we’ve seen in the previous two games, that advantage hasn’t really helped a whole lot.  While the Red Wings haven’t exactly been THE Red Wings, this season, they have been pretty consistent statistically.  However, injuries have weakened their offensive fire-power, significantly, and if this game becomes a high-scoring affair, they likely will not be able to keep up with the Blackhawks.

If the Blackhawks aren’t able to consistently hog the puck and create chances, this could be anyone’s game.  Even though Detroit’s Power Play has simply been middle of the road, the Hawks must cut down on the careless penalties, that have plagued the team lately.  While the Hawk’s Penalty Kill has vastly improved, there have been a few hiccups, in the last couple of games.

The Red Wings are currently in 5th place, in the Atlantic Division, and are 3 points out of the 2nd and final Wild Card spot, in the Eastern Conference.

Detroit is in danger of missing their first post-season, in 23 years.  This is not your grandfather’s Red Wings, or maybe in a way, they are.  Age and injuries are seemingly catching up to Hockey Town.  Trouble in Hockey Town is real, when defenseman, Niklas Kronwallis leading the Red Wings’ active roster, in points, with 16 games remaining, in the season.  Of course that is no disrespect to Kronwall, but it just goes to show the fire-power that is missing, from Detroit’s lineup.  Detroit’s usual suspects of Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Darren Helm and Todd Bertuzzi are all out with injuries.

The Red Wings will have to rely on first-year Red Wing, long time Senator, Daniel Alfredsson as well as former-Predator, recently acquired Red Wing, David Legwand.  However, Johan Franzen will be in the lineup tonight.

In net will most likely be Jimmy Howard, who has dealt with injuries and not had his best season, in 2013-2014.  In 39 games, Howard has been able to put up an okay save percentage of .913, this season.

The Blackhawks are looking to get back on track, after 2 consecutive disappointing losses.  They are currently sitting comfortably in 3rd place, in the Central Division, while still holding onto the chance of taking 2nd place, from the Colorado Avalanche, and the miracle shot of taking 1st place, from the St. Louis Blues.  

Unlike the Red Wings, there is good news, on the Blackhawks injury front, as Marian Hossa will be returning to the lineup, tonight, which will take some pressure off of Brandon Saad, who filled in admirably, for Hossa.  Jonathan Toews is an injury that the Hawks would likely not be able to survive, especially lately, as he has absolutely been on fire.  Patrick Kane has also been playing well, lately, as well as all season.  The other Patrick, Patrick Sharpa known streaky scorer, is more than due to go on one of his scoring streaks.

In net, will likely be Corey Crawfordfor the Hawks.  Crawford has had a fine season, as he has put up a .917 save percentage, in 48 games played, this season.

Rivalry or not, Blackhawks vs. Red Wings is always going to have something special about it.  Detroit is in desperation mode, and the Hawks need to start shoring up their game, before they end up being a 1st round playoff disappointment.  Both teams have plenty to play for.