Although they are now in different Conferences, the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings will renew their rivalry tonight. The last time these two teams saw each other was in last year's playoffs where the Blackhawks overcame a 3-1 series deficit against the Red Wings and won. Brent Seabrook scored the overtime and series winner in game seven, sending the Blackhawks to the Western Conference Finals.
After struggling to start the new year, the Blackhawks have now won two in a row and three of their last four. The Red Wings have lost three of their last four and have been dealing with major injuries in their lineup. This is the first of two meetings between the teams. The second and final game of the season series will be played on March 16 in Chicago.
Here are some notes for tonight's game:
- The Red Wings will be without starting goaltender Jimmy Howard as he is out at least a week with a knee injury. Howard is 9-12-8 this season.
- Red Wings forwards Pavel Datsyuk (lower-body), Daniel Alfredsson (back), Johan Franzen (upper-body), and Stephen Weiss all participated in the morning skate, but it is unknown if any of them will be able to go tonight.
- Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa has five goals and two assists during his current five-game point streak.
- With a win tonight, Blackhawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville moves into sole possession of third all-time with 693 wins in the NHL.
- Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson is expected to return for the Red Wings tonight. Ericsson has one goal and seven assists in 29 games this season.
Battle Between The Pipes
Crawford will get the start again for the Blackhawks tonight. He has won his last two starts and has rounded back into form after a few rough outings. Crawford was named last week's third star of the week as he led the Blackhawks past the Anaheim Ducks and Boston Bruins.
Detroit Red Wings: Jonas Gustavsson (11-3-2, 2.39 GAA, .914 SV%)
Gustavsson is expected to return from his groin injury tonight against the Blackhawks. He has won his last three starts and leads the team with 11 wins. Gustavsson is posting the best numbers of his career in terms of record, goals against average and save percentage.
Players To Watch
Toews is third on the team in points and fourth in goals. He has 15 points over his last 13 games and continues to be one of the best players in the league on both ends of the ice. Toews is just three goals shy of having his seventh straight season with 20 or more goals.
Detroit Red Wings: Forward, Henrik Zetterberg: 15 G, 24 A, 39 P
Zetterberg is tied for the team lead in goals and leads the team in points. He has three points over his last two games after going four games without a point. Zetterberg looks well on his way to recording his ninth season of 20 or more goals in the NHL.
Chicago Blackhawks: Forward, Bryan Bickell: 7 G, 2 A, 9 P
Bickell has been struggling this year and has received less ice time because of his poor play. He has failed to reach the 10-minute mark in each of his last four games. In his last nine games, Bickell has one point and if he doesn't start getting on the stat sheet, he could find his way out of the lineup completely and possibly on his way out of Chicago.
Tatar has been held pointless in his last three games after scoring a goal in three straight. He is a talented player with a strong skill set on offense. He has scored some impressive goals this season and he looks to only be getting better.
Tonight's game starts at 7 pm. CT.
Let's Go Hawks!
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