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Red Wings vs Blackhawks Gameday Updates: Line Combinations, Key Matchups

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Chicago Blackhawks Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Big changes announced at the morning skate, let's start with the lesser of the two.

Howard is not only back on the roster, but he gets the start tonight against the Hawks.

This will be his first appearance since December 20th against the Lightning. So welcome back Jimmy!

Now for the big one. It was announced that Mantha would be sitting tonight in favor of Mitch Callahan, so the lines are now a bit shuffled.

Go crazy with this one, folks. Seems like Blashill is hoping to send Mantha a message with this and get as much out of him as possible. Will it work? That remains to be seen. But during a season with nothing left to lose, is sitting a young guy for a game as a way to challenge him really all that bad? The tank is coming along nicely, at least.

The Expected Lineup

Powerplay Units

Chicago's Lineup

Keys to the Game

Depth Scoring Needed

Chicago may be a hot team but they are definitely not a deep team. Looking at the forward lineup, things fall off once you get past Kane, Toews and Panarin. Who's their next-best guy? Hossa? Panik? Anisimov? All good players, but I'd say the Wings are deeper throughout the lineup. Everyone's got to pitch in tonight. The Hawks are far from a one-line team, but let's press our advantage in this area as much as possible.

Chicago’s Last Game at The Joe

At this point in the season, it would make a lot of sense to hope the Wings lose out for a pick. However, if I could pick any game for them to win over the next 17, I'd have a tough time choosing between this game and the very last game at The Joe against New Jersey. I despise Chicago, and I think most of our readers share that sentiment. Let's give them an ass-kicking they won't soon forget!