Chicago Blackhawks: 44-24-12, 100 pts
Detroit Red Wings: 51-19-10, 112 pts
Chicago enters today's game with the four spot in the West locked up following Calgary's loss to Edmonton. In the last 10, the Blackhawks are 7-2-1, with wins over San Jose, New Jersey, Columbus, St. Louis, and Nashville twice. Joel Quenneville has the Blackhawks playing
The Blackhawks have solidified themselves this year as a real contender for the Cup. Filled with young talent, the Blackhawks have perhaps one of the brightest futures in the NHL, all the while going relatively unnoticed...except in Detroit. The Red Wings have noticed the increase in talent and have stepped up their game each time out against the Blackhawks. This season, the Wings are 4-0 against the 'Hawks, including the Winter Classic game at Wrigley and look to sweep the season series with games Saturday and Sunday against the 'Hawks.
The Wings look to rebound following a disappointing shootout loss at the hands of Jason Arnott and the Nashville Predators. The loss hurt extra following a defensive lapse that saw two Nashville goals in a six minute span to force overtime when the Wings had the game in the bag. Not to take anything away from the Predators, but the Wings let that one slip away and Mike Babcock will do everything to prevent that from happening again today.
The rivalry between these two teams is intense and don't expect the play Saturday afternoon to be anything less than that as these two teams kickoff the season ending home and home series. Neither team really has anything to gain in the standings by way of winning but the rivalry and a tough tune up prior to the playoffs will be enough for the players on both teams to get up and give 100%.
What to look for: Chicago's defense is emerging as one of the better ones in the league. Today's game will be a good barometer of the Wings' ability to go against a tough defense without being frustrated. Henrik Zetterberg has been a great offensive leader lately and could see his name in the scoring column, along with Johan Franzen.
Puck drops at 3:00 p.m. ET and the game will air on FS-D and as always, GO WINGS!