Tonight's game between the Detroit Red Wings (23-7-5) and Chicago Blackhawks (20-6-7) is a pretty big deal. Not only will it set the stage for the big Winter Classic game on New Year's, but a Chicago win would bring the Hawks within two points in the standings with two games in hand (they've won nine straight). While we want to win every game, we don't want to give Chicago a chance to tie us atop the Central at the Winter Classic. But if I had to pick one of the two games to win, I'd obviously like to see us beat Chicago on New Year's.
Captain Nicklas Lidstrom is not playing tonight as the swelling in his ankle is still pretty bad. Let's hope it eases up in time for Thursday's game. Ty Conklin is expected to start in net as the Wings aren't quite ready to let Chris Osgood return from that groin injury.
Tonight's game will be the 700th game between these two teams, the most in NHL history. If you want the opponent's view, be sure to check out Second City Hockey. The game starts at 7:30pm and will be shown on FS Detroit. Go Wings!