Game Preview: Chicago Blackhawks Face a Detroit Red Wings Team Hungry for a Win


Sep 23, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad (20) is defended by Detroit Red Wings center Tomas Nosek (82) during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Weirdly, the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings are basically the same team, just in different conferences(which is still sort of sad).  However, the Blackhawks have been heating up lately, with a 2-0-2 record, so far, on the homestand, while the Red Wings have gone 0-2-1, in their last three.

This will be the 2nd and final game of the 2-game season series between the Hawks and Wings.  Detroit won the first meeting, in Detroit, by a score of 4-1.  Puck drop is set for 6:30 PM Central Time.  Yes, the game is being played in Chicago and because it’s on NBCSN as part of it’s Wednesday “Rivalry Night” Double-Header, the start time is wacky.  You can hear tonight’s game on WGN 720 AM.

Here’s a statistical breakdown of the Hawks and Wings.

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Offensively, the Hawks are one of the better teams in the league and tonight they will be up against one of the best defensive teams, in the Red Wings

Defensively, the Hawks are also one of the best teams(slightly better than Detroit) and they will be up against a very good offensive attack(slightly worse than the Hawks), from the Red Wings.

On the Power Play, the Hawks are slightly above average and tonight they will be up against a very good Detroit Penalty Kill.

For the Hawks, their Penalty Kill is the best in the league, and tonight they will face the Red Wings’ Power Play, which is also the best in the league.  Exciting!

In the faceoff circle, the Hawks have been very good, but they will be taking draws against a Detroit team that has been even better,

In terms of puck-possession, the Hawks are an elite team and tonight they will be fighting for the puck with a Red Wings squad that is the most elite team, in terms of possession.

Like I said before, these teams are almost mirror images of one another.  In all honesty, the advantage has to ever-so-slightly go to Detroit.  However, with them coming into town in the midst of a slump and the Hawks now beginning to heat up, it appears that the Hawks are catching the Wings at just the right time.

The Red Wings are currently 31-14-10 with 72 points, which is good for 3rd place in the Atlantic Division.  As of right now, they are 4 points behind the 2nd place Tampa Bay Lightning and 6 points behind the 1st place Montreal Canadiens.  Hmmm…sounds like a familiar scenario.

Detroit’s usual suspects of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk pace the team offensively.  Zetterberg has an excellent 34 assists in 55 games played.  Datsyuk has missed 11 games this season but has 7 points in his last 7 games.  Relative newcomers and the heir-apparent to Detroit’s leadership are Gustav Nyquistwho has 20 goals, and Tomas Tatarwho has 23 goals.  Defenseman, Danny DeKyser has emerged as a defensive-minded defenseman, who isn’t flashy, but helps shore up Detroit’s defensive game in big ways.

In net for the Red Wings will likely be Jimmy Howard.  Howard just recently returned from injury and is having a good season, when healthy, with a .921 Save Percentage in 35 games played.

The Hawks are 35-18-4 with 74 points, which is good enough for 3rd place in the Central Division.  They are currently 4 points behind the 2nd place St. Louis Blues and 10 points behind the Nashville Predators.  Eerily similar to Detroit’s situation in the Atlantic.  Unfortunately for the Hawks, it’s going to be much more difficult to reach 1st place, in their division.

Patrick Kane isn’t only leading the Hawks in points, but the also the entire NHL.  Not to be outdone, Jonathan Toews is on a bit of a scoring hot streak, with 5 points in his last 4 games.  Speaking of hot streaks, the NHL’s 1st Star of the week, Marian Hossa, has 7 goals in his last 5 games.  Before catching offensive fire, Hossa was mired in a slump with an unsustainably low shooting percentage.  Gotta love market correction!  Similarly, Patrick Sharp has a weirdly low shooting percentage of 6.3%, a far cry from his career shooting percentage of 11.5%.  Is Sharp the next to catch fire?  Not if he’s skating on the 4th line like he was in yesterday’s practice.

In net for the Hawks, appearing in his 250th NHL game will be Corey Crawford.  Despite missing time with an injury, Crawford is having a fine season with a .922 Save Percentage in 38 games.

Two very similar teams, both statistically and when it comes to the standings.  Both are gearing up for the playoffs where it would be a disappointment for either team if they didn’t make a deep run.  It’s quite possible that the Hawks and Wings could meet in the Stanley Cup Finals.  How cool would that be?!?

Go Hawks!