Blackhawks/Red Wings a playoff preview?
In what could be a preliminary look at the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Detroit Red Wings for the last time during the regular season this year. In their previous three meetings the Blackhawks have prevailed in all of them.
The previous encounters between these teams have been classic tight defensive tilts that could have swung either way. Their last meeting however, was a complete whitewashing by the Blackhawks when they won 7-1 at the Joe. This will provide sufficient motivation for Detroit to come out flying coupled with the fact that they are still fighting for their playoff lives.
Detroit is currently in the number eight spot, the last playoff spot for the Western Conference and is only two points ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes with both teams having played the same amount of games. Detroit is desperate as they need every point they can get.
Detroit has been having problems scoring and is currently 21st in the league in goals scored per game. Detroit will be coming into Chicago having just played San Jose the night before in a shoot out loss. The Wings could show signs of fatigue by the third period against the Hawks so this is something to watch if more defensive mistakes are made by the Wings.
The Blackhawks meanwhile are coming into this game well rested after a 1-0 shutout over the Minnesota Wild pitched by Ray Emery way back on Tuesday night.
The Hawks have a playoff berth sewed up but don’t think that the Blackhawks have no motivation to win this game or nothing to play for. The Hawks are seeking to tie down the Central division title which would insure them a third spot at the very least in playoff standings. They also are still looking to get home ice advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Blackhawks will be looking to improve their powerplay if the occasion arises which may not occur often as Detroit is one of the least penalized teams in the league. Going into the playoffs the Hawks want to get the powerplay working effectively if possible.
The Hawks also want to eliminate turnovers and keep playing a solid defensive team game and in general fine tune their game.
Corey Crawford will be in nets for the Hawks and Jimmy Howard will be in nets for Detroit. Dave Bolland practiced with the team today but in all likelihood will not play in the game Friday.
Look for another classic tilt between two great high flying, skilled puck possession original six teams. Detroit will be in the East next year so Chicago will not see them as much going forward so savor this one folks. Friday night, a long standing rivalry, the old guard and a new powerhouse battle it out once again at the Madhouse. Does hockey get any better than this?
Blackhawks record: 30 -5-4
Red Wings record: 19-15-6
Time: 7:30pm CST
Location: United Center
Where to watch: RDS, NHLN-US, CSN-CH, FOX Detroit
Where to listen: WGN 720 Chicago, WXYT 97.1 Detroit
Next 2 games: Sun 4/14 vs St. Louis Blues; Mon 4/15 vs Dallas Stars