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Morning Skate: Big game at The Joe

I could very easily sit here and go on a rant about the officiating and how the Wings were cheated, but enough has already been said about it and the extra point isn't going to come back if I write a few lines about it. So let's move on to the game that's ahead, instead of behind.

  • This is going to be a short edition of Morning Skate since it's following a game yesterday. 
  • Today's game is huge. After the 3-2 SO loss, the Red Wings need to pick their heads up and come out better than ever against Chicago and use yesterday's game as a motivation to get some points back. Coming out flat against Chicago will bury the Wings before it even starts so there needs to be high energy from the beginning.
  • The game is at 12:30 on NBC. 12:30 on NBC. 12:30 on NBC. I say it three times because of the early start time. Don't miss it, and don't miss the game thread either. 
  • No word yet on the starting goalie for Detroit or Chicago but many expect Niemi from Chicago. 
  • Chicago beat Columbus 6-5 yesterday. Chicago scored three in the third period, including two from Jonathan Toews
  • Chicago's top goal scorer is Patrick "20 cent" Kane with 19 and then Toews with 16. 
  • The scoring is well distributed in Chicago. They have eight players with 10 or more goals. Eight. By comparison, Detroit has half of that. 
  • Chicago is a solid team from end to end. 2nd most goals per game in the league, fewest goals against per game in the league. When you have an offense that potent and defense that can do the same pretty much, it's a tough team to beat. 
  • That defense is very skilled offensively, too. Duncan Keith is second on the team in points with 43(10 G, 33 A) and Brian Campbell isn't far behind with 31 (6 G, 25 A).
  • Keep the puck out of the defensive zone. Chicago is great at forcing pressure and forechecking to create turnovers and chances in their offensive zone. Play smart puck possession hockey and more or less keep away to put the game in Detroit's favor.
  • Brad May is less and less effective each time he takes the ice. Steve Ott was pestering the Wings all game, trying to get fights out of guys like Brad Stuart and Todd Bertuzzi. Where was May? Nowhere to be seen it seemed like. Ville Leino's not that much better of an option at this point but at least he has the potential to do some damage offensively, unlike May who slowly chugs along the ice for 40 seconds at a time. I never thought I'd say, "I can't wait for Jason Williams to return."
  • Speaking of Todd Bertuzzi, what a nice goal to open the game yesterday. I don't think many people expected this type of production from him at this stage in his career or how beautiful some of his goals have been. It was also good to see him not take Ott up on a fight, shows he really has moved past that part in his career. And say what you want about his gaffes offensively this season but he's really starting to become a solid defensive forward too. I know, I'm shocked too.
  • Second City Hockey for Blackhawks coverage on SB Nation
  • How to beat the 'Hawks: Shut 'em down. The Detroit defense has no room for error against the Blackhawks because Chicago can make Detroit pay from top line to bottom line. Shut down their offense and give yourself a chance in the game, otherwise it could be a blowout with the way they're playing in both ends of the ice. 
  • Key match-up to watch when the Red Wings are on the attack: The Bertuzzi-Datsyuk-Zetterberg line is starting to find some more chemistry so they'll need to have it again against the Blackhawks.
  • Key match-up to watch when the Blackhawks are on the attack: Marian Hossa's line. Detroit fans know the things he is capable of (and not capable of) and how he can pick up an entire team and carry it.