Morning Skate: Blackhawks at Red Wings

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Game 50

8:00p ET, Joe Louis Arena

Detroit, MI

TV: NBC Sports Network, TSN2

Radio: AM 1270

Blackhawks Blog: Second City Hockey

Well that didn't go quite as planned. We were supposed to beat St. Louis and gain some ground, not lose what little we have left. The Wings are currently 3 spots out of the final wild card slot for the playoffs and if the playoffs started today I'd be very upset so let's not talk about that. The Wings have to get traction and start making up for lost points but it's only getting more and more difficult. The Blackhawks lead the central division and are 2nd in the entire NHL in points, and the Wings desperately need to take the 2 points tonight and run. I'm not going to lie, I'm a little nervous about tonight.

It's easy to get discouraged when we're icing three 3rd lines and a 2nd line and not winning many games, but every game that goes by is more experience that our rookies get, and we're forced to rely heavily on them with so many veterans out with injuries, and they'll keep getting better with every game.

I'm not sure what to anymore, if seems like every single game is the same thing... It's going to be a tough game to win, half the team is injured, we desperately need the points, etc etc etc. This is a Wings team in massive transition, devastated by injuries to the players they need the most, and who are going to have to fight, grasp, and claw for every single point and win and we're losing ground. Hold on to your butts, hold on to your fellow fans, hold on to your fellow fans' butts, whatever it takes to get through this together. As Red Green always says, "Remember, I'm pullin' for ya, we're all in this together". *deep breath*

Just win boys, just win.



The Expected Lineup

Forwards

Gustav Nyquist Henrik Zetterberg Justin Abdelkader
Tomas Jurco Riley Sheahan Todd Bertuzzi
Drew Miller Darren Helm Tomas Tatar
Daniel Cleary Luke Glendening Patrick Eaves

Defensemen

Niklas Kronwall Brendan Smith
Kyle Quincey Danny DeKeyser
Brian Lashoff Jakub Kindl

Goaltenders

Jonas Gustavsson
Petr Mrazek

Note: Jonathan Ericsson may return tonight, Yay! If he does I'd expect either Lashoff of Kindl to sit. Maybe put Riggy on the 2nd pairing with DeKeyser to ease him back since it would be his first game in almost a month, and have Quincey and Lashoff on the 3rd.

Scratches: Mikael Samuelsson

Injuries: Johan Franzen (concussion), Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), Daniel Alfredsson (back spasms), Jimmy Howard (knee), Joakim Andersson (mystery spot), Cory Emmerton (hand)

LTIR: Stephen Weiss (groin)


RED WINGS THE MATCH-UP BLACKHAWKS
21-18-10 (52 pts; 6th in Atlantic) Record 32-8-11 (75 pts; 1st in Central)
2.45 (23rd in NHL) Goals Per Game 3.51 (1st in NHL)
2.59 (14th) Goals Against Per Game 2.61 (15th)
16.8% (22nd) Power Play % 22.4% (5th)
84.4% (5th) Penalty Kill % 77.2% (29th)
Pavel Datsyuk (15 goals) Goal Leader Patrick Sharp (25 goals)
Henrik Zetterberg (39 points) Points Leader Patrick Kane (56 points)


Opponent Outlook

Player to Fear: Patick Sharp, because he'll spear your testicles. I was going to go with Patrick Kane, but Marian Hossa is hot with 7 points in his last 5 games and is top 5 in goals and points on the team. Frkin' Marian Hossa.

X-Factor: Which Jonathan Toews shows up? Petulant Penalty Box Towes, or offensive dangerous Towes? That's the question.

Familiar Faces: Frkin' Marian Hossa

Thumbs up (One Thing to Like About Chicago): Graham is there! (Hi Graham!)

Thumbs down (One Thing to Dislike About Chicago): Everything else.


Bullets of Knowledge

  • The Red Wings are 363-265-84-13 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Blackhawks.

  • Last 10 games: Chicago 5-1-4. Detroit 4-5-1.

  • Gustavsson is 0-1-0 with a 4.43 GAA, .848 SV% in 2 career games (only 1 start though) against Chicago. This is pretty much useless info because of the incredibly small sample size. His only game with the Wings against the Blackhawks was in relief of Jimmy Howard in that 7-1 dumpster fire of an Easter game last year that didn't happen. Time to be big as a house Gus, big as a house.

Prediction: The Wings score more than 1 goal. Please please please please.

Let's Go Red Wings!!!
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