Time: 7:30pm ET
Place: Little Caesars Arena – Detroit, MI
Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket
Blackhawks Blog: Second City Hockey
The Red Wings have struggled to put a full 60 minutes together as of late. They have had games where the offense simply could not generate anything and the goalie (usually Nedeljkovic) could not will them to victory…no matter how hard he tried. They have had games where the offense was a little less non-existent but the defense could not get out of their own way and left the goalie out to dry too many times. They have even had a game where the seemingly rock-solid goaltending let in a couple clunkers that ultimately proved to be their down fall. Tonight, the boys in the Winged Wheel will look to an old nemesis to try and get them out of their funk and a couple points onto the board as the Chicago Blackhawks come to town.
Chicago enters tonight’s game with a slightly better go of things over the last 10 games (4-3-3 to Detroit’s 3-4-3) but overall are worse than Detroit in just about every category, including points where the Wings have a 42-37 advantage on the old rivals. As bad as the Red Wings have been offensively at times this season, Chicago has been way worse. Just over halfway through the season and they have exactly two players, Alex DeBrincat (24) and Brandon Hagel (10), with double digit goals. Along with DeBrincat and Hagel, Patrick Kane, on the back of 27 assists, is the only other Blackhawks forward on at least a half a point per game pace. Chicago is 30th in the league in goals for per game at 2.29 (compare that to the Red Wings 2.67, good for 24th). Defensively they are ever so slightly better than Detroit, sitting at 22nd with a 3.24 goal against per game (Detroit is right behind them at 3.29). On the blue line, Seth Jones has had a decent season with 26 points in 38 games, but with an8yr/$76M dollar extension that does not even kick in until next season they are going to need a whole lot more from him. Marc-Andre Fleury has quietly had a decent season with a .913 save percentage, but after posting a .928 and winning the Vezina last season I am sure Chicago was expecting more from him when they traded for him.
With talk that anyone could be available from Chicago at the trade deadline, the Blackhawks potentially staring down the long dark tunnel of a rebuild (something I for one am all on board for watching), and this being the last meeting between the two this season, this could be the last time a Kane and Toews led Blackhawks team plays the Red Wings. Here is to hoping they send them home to Chicago with another L.