Morning Skate: On The Road Again

Which Red Wings team is going to show up tonight?

It's going to be a team with James Jimmah Tiberius Howard III between the pipes.

That's right, the Red Wings get their all-star goaltender back tonight as they head to Chicago for a quick road game in the Windy City. The Wings closed out a perfect six game home stand with a 3-2 win over the Sharks on Sunday. The home win streak is now up to 23 straight, but it's another number that's quite possibly more important.

That number is .500.

If the Wings won every single game from here on out at home, it wouldn't matter what their road record was. As much as we want to believe that the streak will continue forever...it's not going to. Detroit is going to have to get better on the road if they want to secure the top seed in the West and the NHL. They've got 22 games left this season and 10 of them will be played in opponent's buildings. There's going to come a time this postseason where the Wings face a must win on the road and I'd like to have some confidence that they can do it.

The Blackhawks have struggled recently but they're damn good at home with a 20-6-4 record. If the Wings want to change their tune on the road, tonight is a great chance to get that road record to 16-15-1. I want to see a record above .500 for the last 10 road games of the season.

The race to playoffs continues. Every point matters.

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Second City Hockey is your SBNation Blackhawks blog.

Puck drop is just after 8p ET on Fox Sports Detroit for the locals and on NBC Sports Network for the rest of us.

The Expected Lineup (UPDATED)

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Johan Franzen -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Todd Bertuzzi

Danny Cleary -- Valtteri Filppula -- Jiri Hudler

Justin Abdelkader -- Darren Helm -- Drew Miller

Jan Mursak -- Cory Emmerton -- Tomas Holmstrom

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Nicklas Lidstrom -- Ian White

Niklas Kronwall -- Brad Stuart

Jonathan Ericsson -- Jakub Kindl

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Jimmy Howard (starting)

Joey MacDonald

Scratches: Mike Commodore

Injuries: Patrick Eaves (concussion) and Pavel Datsyuk (knee)

RED WINGS HOW THEY MATCH UP BLACKHAWKS
41-17-2 (84 pts; 1st in NHL) Record 32-21-7 (71 pts; 6th in West)
3.05 (5th in NHL) Goals Per Game 3.08 (4th in NHL)
2.30 (5th) Goals Against Per Game 2.92 (23rd)
17.5% (14th) Power Play % 16.4% (19th)
81.4% (20th) Penalty Kill % 78.9% (26th)
Johan Franzen (23 goals) Goal Leader Jonathan Toews (29 goals)
Pavel Datsyuk (59 points) Points Leader Marian Hossa (58 points)

  • The Red Wings are 363-262-84-9 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Chicago Blackhawks franchise.
  • It's a battle of the win streaks. The Wings have won six straight games and the Hawks have won three-in-a-row.
  • Corey Crawford is 5-2-2 with a 2.20 GAA and .934 SV% all-time against the Wings. Jimmy Howard is 4-5-1 with a 3.06 GAA and .898 SV% all-time against the Hawks.
  • Danny Cleary will return to the lineup tonight after missing time due to getting his knee drained. It's a good thing too. Buckets has two goals and an assist in his last three games in Chicago.
  • Each of the three games between these two teams this season has ended in a 3-2 result. The Hawks won the first match up of the year 3-2. The Wings won the next two games 3-2 in overtime.
  • The Blackhawks are 0-for-27 on the power play in their last 10 games. Expect them to score a PP goal or two tonight.
  • The Red Wings are hosting a social media meet up tonight before the game in Chicago. Wings fans will be meeting up at Tin Lizzie. If you're in the Chicago area -- whether you're going to the game or not -- I recommend that you go. I've gone to one in Boston before and it's a lot of fun to meet other Wings fans. Plus, our very own Graham will be there. You can meet him and tell him how much you like me and J.J. better than him.

Prediction: On the latest episode of WIIM Radio (with Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski), I predicted Jimmy would be back with a vengeance and would shutout the Hawks. I'll stick with that prediction. It's going to a be a 3-0 win for the Red Wings and Jimmy Howard is your player of the game.

Let's Go Red Wings.

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