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Morning Skate: Banner Envy

After dusting off the Anaheim Ducks last night 4-0, the Red Wings travel to Chicago for the Blackhawks' home opener, where they'll raise their franchise's fourth ever Stanley Cup banner in their 84-year history.  Somewhere, Kirk Maltby will look on and smirk, because he's seen that many Red Wings banners raised during his career in Detroit.

  • The Hawks dropped their season opener on Thursday night to a young and often times outmatched Colorado Avalanche squad 4-3 in overtime.  One game does not a season make, but the Hawks had trouble imposing their will with only half an established championship roster.
  • Chris Osgood gets the start in net: Whether or not he needs to redeem himself or prove himself or whatever in the eyes of Wings fans is moot.  Osgood played well in preseason; I have no reason to believe he'll play anything less than that tonight.
  • Jonathan Ericsson is out tonight: The Big Rig left last nights game with back spasms after playing pretty well in the first period.  Jakub Kindl will skate in his place.
  • Elsewhere around the league: Carolina finished the European sweep over Minnesota 2-1; Sharks over Columbus 3-2: Dallas recovered from an ugly first period to beat the Devils 4-3 in OT; Buffalo beat Ottawa 2-1; Atlanta surprised Washington 4-2
  • Speaking of Atlanta: Scary moment last night as Atlanta goalie Andrej Pavelec collapsed on the ice during the first period of the game.  He was rushed to the hospital, where he regained consciousness and remains in stable condition.  Preliminary tests reveal no serious health problems.  I hope this doesn't turn into another Jiri Fischer situation.  Pavelec is 23 years old.
  • Keep reading for the rest, including the match-ups to watch tonight
  • Last night's Wings played well as a team:  They'll need to continue doing exactly what they did, keeping up measured pressure on the forecheck and staying defensively tight.  They allowed some good chances last night, but for the most part did an excellent job keeping Anaheim to the outside.
  • Mike Modano scored his first-ever goal as a Red Wing: You know, I wouldn't mind a second or a third tonight.
  • The Hawks defense is without Brian Campbell This means two things: First, Chicago will have that much more trouble getting outlet passes and, second, Quenneville will likely keep a forward on the point for both power play lines.  Hossa and Sharp played the blue line on the PP Thursday and the Hawks gave up a ton of odd-man, shorthanded rushes. 
  • The line I'll be watching a lot tonight: Detroit's third line of Hudler-Modano-Cleary.  They played well last night and will be men playing against boys in this matchup if Quenneville tries to go third line against third line.  Depending on Babcock's strategy (read: whether he wants to try to play stalemate with the top two lines in a road game and second of back-to-back), the game may be won or lost depending on this trio's ability to put pucks past Turco.
  • Key match-up to watch when Chicago has the puck: Datsyuk/Lidstrom versus Kane.  Young Kane the Stain is still a fancy, candy-assed puck-hog who will skate to dangerous areas.  I'm looking for these guys to relieve him of the puck and get the other way up ice with numbers.  88 is creative, but he's still learning guile.
  • Key match-up to watch when Detroit has the puck: Franzen versus Hossa.  Marian is the Hawks' best defensive forward (Toews will get there by year's end).  Franzen likes playing big body to big body.  The Hawks are going to have to rely on Hossa to help out, because with Keith & Seabrook focusing on the Circus pairing, there's a mis-match on Chicago's second defensive pairing.
  • Expected lines:
  • Game thread opens at 7:45.  See you tonight!

    [Update 3:00 PM EST: reports coming via Twitter have Brandon Pirri being called up to replace Patrick Sharp in the lineup tonight.]