Blackhawks look to continue winning streak against Red Wings
The Blackhawks need to somehow dust off their A game as they look to continue their three game winning streak when they face the best of the best in the league, the Detroit Red Wings. They currently sit atop the entire NHL with 84 points and a record of 41-17-2.
This game is paramount for the Hawks which goes without saying. This is a potential four point swing game. If the Hawks can somehow pull this out in regulation it would do wonders not only for their confidence but to continue racking up points against divisional foes.
Detroit has few weaknesses to exploit. They are ranked only behind Boston in GF/GA differential. In other words they have a potent offense and a disciplined defense coupled with excellent goaltending. So the Hawks don’t stand a chance right? Well they do in the UC.
If Detroit has one weakness it’s their play on the road where their record is just average at 15-15-1. They do not score near as many goals on the road as they do at the Joe. They also let in more goals on the road as well & statistically their penalty kill is ranked 20th overall in the league. Plus the Hawks always play the Wings tough and I still think if anyone can stop the Wings in the West the Blackhawks have the best chance in my opinion.
If the Hawks can play their tighter defensive game they have found recently and maybe get on the power play they may be able to get ahead of the Wings and build confidence. The Wings are one of the least penalized teams so this will be no easy task. The Hawks need to get that abysmal power play going especially heading down the stretch to the playoffs.
It will take an entire team performance like they have been playing in their last three games to overtake the Wings. The Wings are extremely skilled and yes very well coached. Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen & Filppula will take a solid defensive effort to slow down.
Positioning, backchecking and tight neutral zone play will be essential for the Hawks to walk away with two points on this team. The Hawks need to stick to their game and try to make as few mistakes as possible. They can’t afford odd man rushes or breakaways not against Detroit.
If the Hawks do make a mistake and Detroit makes them pay they need to have short memories and move on and not dwell on them. Mistakes will be made when Detroit played Nashville Datsyuk undressed arguably the best goalie and defensemen in Rinne and Weber/Suter. The Hawks need to just keep it tight if they make mistakes move on and they'll be alright.
This will be the 4th meeting this year between these two clubs and all three games have been tight and went to OT. 1-0-2 is the Hawks record versus the Wings they are dead even in points at four apiece. This will be the game where one will go ahead in the series and the Blackhawks need to make sure it is them as this is their last home game against the Wings.
What to look for
· The Wings have a balanced attack. The Hawks need to be mindful of Todd Bertuzzi in front of the net looking to screen or redirect pucks.
· If Jimmy Howard is in net he will be tough to crack. It is essential in my opinion that the Hawks keep shooting at Howard and get people to the net to screen him or redirect pucks.
· Marian Hossa has 3 goals and 2 assists in his last four games.
· Brent Seabrook typically does well against Detroit as far as scoring goals
This game will be a national broadcast and can be caught on NBCSN & CSN in Chicago and on WGN Radio 720
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