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Morning Skate: Blackhawks at Red Wings - Game 6 Preview

Gregory Shamus

8:00p ET, Joe Louis Arena

Detroit, MI


Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Blackhawks Blog: Second City Hockey

Detroit Red Wings Tickets

Some of you out there might not agree with me, but this just might be it for the 2013 Detroit Red Wings. Yes, I know it's Game 6 and the Wings are up 3-2 in the series, but this is a young and inexperienced team in many areas going up against what is still the most talented team from top to bottom in the Western Conference. If the Red Wings can't close out the series at home, Game 7 could be real ugly.

We've gushed about the kids learning and growing throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs. We've see Gustav Nyquist fly up and down the ice and Brendan Smith help create goals on both ends of the ice. Game 6, though, it's not about the kids. Game 6 must to be about the vets.

This is a situation where the experience that exists on this team needs to shine through. Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall all know the extreme difficulty of close out games. Those three players need to perform at an elite level for a full 60 minutes tonight. Winning Game 7 on the road against a paper tiger like the Ducks is one thing. Closing out the best team in hockey is another. The kids just might throw us a curve ball and surprise us again, but the Wings most experienced players need to be their best players tonight. Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen need to be relevant. Daniel Cleary needs to keep grinding along. Those 6 players were all on the ice in 2008 to close out the Penguins in 6 games after being up 3-1 in a series.

They've been there.

They can do it again

It's now or never.

Close out the Blackhawks tonight. They're headed to Chicago one way or another after this. Make sure that Red Bird III isn't right behind.

Rip their hearts out.

The Expected Lineup

Johan Franzen - Pavel Datsyuk - Justin Abdelkader

Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Daniel Cleary

Gustav Nyquist - Joakim Andersson - Damien Brunner

Patrick Eaves - Cory Emmerton - Drew Miller


Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson

Brendan Smith - Kyle Quincey

Carlo Colaiacovo - Jakub Kindl


Jimmy Howard (starting)

Jonas Gustavsson

Scratches: Ian White, Brian Lashoff, Jordin Tootoo, Mikael Samuelsson and Todd Bertuzzi

Injuries: Danny DeKeyser (thumb) and Darren Helm (back)

6-4 Record 7-5
2.70 (6th in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.42 (8th in NHL)
1.80 (2nd) Goals Against Per Game 2.58 (10th)
17.9% (10th) Power Play % 15.9% (11th)
97.2% (1st) Penalty Kill % 75.0% (13th)
Patrick Sharp (6 goals) Goal Leader 3 tied with 4 goals
Patrick Sharp (10 points) Points Leader Henrik Zetterberg (11 points)

  • The Red Wings are 38-41 (W-L) all-time against the Chicago Blackhawks in the postseason. Chicago has won 8 of the 15 series between these clubs.
  • Last time these two teams met in a Game 6 in the postseason was April 13, 1989. Chicago won 7-1 and upset the Red Wings in 6 games. Lee Norwood scored Detroit's lone goal. It was assisted by Adam Oates and Steve Yzerman. The '89 series saw the favorite Wings win Game 1, lose Games 2-4, win Game 5 and then bow out of the playoffs in Game 6. Interesting. Very interesting.
  • Howard is 2-1 with a 2.99 GAA and .901 SV% all time in Game 6's during his postseason career. All three games were played at home. He's 1-0 in overtime.
Prediction: Detroit wins 4-2.

Let's Go Red Wings.