The good ol' Original Six rivalry renews tonight as the Chicago Blackhawks make their way to Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. The Blackhawks went 1-0-1 in their two games in Europe against the Florida Panthers as the other half of the NHL Premiere weekend. The Red Wings hobble home from Sweden, dragging a 0-2 record and are one of only two teams still with 0 points, the other being New Jersey. Is it time to panic yet? Nah, not yet. But if the defensive woes continue along with the mediocrity of the goaltending, it might be.
Luckily the offense is coming along pretty decently with a lot of secondary scoring from guys like Kirk Maltby, Ville Leino, and Niklas Kronwall. All three members of Henrik Zetterberg's line have been hampered by groin injuries and are yet to really get going. If they can turn it on and play a grinding game against the Blackhawks the Wings could come away with their first win. The faceoff circle will be a big part of tonight's game as both teams are very strong in that department--Chicago 57.1% and Detroit at 56.7%, 2 and 3 in the league respectively.
What to look for: The Red Wings defense will endure a very tough test tonight against one of the best offenses in the NHL. The top four defensemen for the Wings will be called on for close to 22+ minutes each in my opinion to suffocate the Chicago attack. If the defense can hold, Osgood will be under less pressure which is crucial to this team that can no longer rely on sheer offensive skill.
Puck drops at 7:30 p.m. ET and will air on NHL Network, Comcast Chicago, and of course FS-Detroit. As always, GO WINGS!