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Afternoon Skate: Sibling Rivalry

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The recipe for tonight's game is pretty simple: Just Win.

The Wings let an opportunity slip between their fingers last night in Toronto and now they have to play two nights-in-a-row and travel to Chicago to face a rested Hawks team. No easy task. Add to it that Ty Conklin will be starting in net for the Wings. The task just got tougher.

Yeah it's January and there is a very long way to go before the playoffs. But, the division is so close that from here on out, every two points matters just as much as the next. The two points available tonight are just as important as the two points in March.

The Wings are just part of the pack in the Western Conference right now. A win tonight and Detroit can begin to separate itself from the rest.

Plus, who doesn't like beating the Blackhawks?


Second City Hockey is your SBNation Blackhawks' blog.

Puck drop is just after 7:30p ET on NBC Sports Network.

The Expected Lineup (UPDATED)

Johan Franzen -- Pavel Datsyuk -- Todd Bertuzzi

Valtteri Filppula -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Jiri Hudler

Danny Cleary -- Darren Helm -- Drew Miller

Tomas Holmstrom -- Justin Abdelkader -- Chris Conner


Nicklas Lidstrom -- Ian White

Niklas Kronwall -- Brad Stuart

Jonathan Ericsson -- Jakub Kindl


Ty Conklin (starting)

Jimmy Howard

Scratches: Mike Commodore, Cory Emmerton

Injuries: Patrick Eaves (jaw) and Jan Mursak (ankle)

UPDATE: Gustav Nyquist has been reassigned to Grand Rapids. Homer will play. UPDATE II: Per the Freep, Helm is in. The updated 3rd and 4th lines are just a guess. We'll adjust if any news comes out.

25-14-1 (51 pts; 5th in West) Record 24-13-4 (52 pts; 4th in West)
3.24 (4th) Goals Per Game 3.12 (6th)
2.30 (5th) Goals Against Per Game 2.85 (20th)
19.3% (7th) Power Play % 17.8% (15th)
81.2% (22nd) Penalty Kill % 78.5% (26th)
Johan Franzen (16 goals) Goal Leader Jonathan Toews (22 goals)
Pavel Datsyuk (42 points) Points Leader Marian Hossa (42 points)

  • The Red Wings are 361-262-84-9 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Blackhawks.
  • Welcome to Bizzaro World. If the season ended today, the St. Louis Blues would win the division and the Wings and Hawks would square off in the first round. The Wings are only one point behind the Hawks and two behind the Blues. Detroit has a game in hand against both teams, so a win tonight will put the Wings in first on the Central and second in the West.
  • Chicago has lost three-in-a-row.
  • Detroit is giving up an average of four-goals-per-game in the year 2012.

Prediction: It's a big test for Conklin. His performance tonight may very well determine what Ken Holland does at the trade deadline in regards to a back-up goalie. The trend of giving up goals continues, but this time they only give up three. Wings win 5-3 and Pavel Datsyuk is your player of the game.

Let's Go Red Wings.