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Blackhawks Visit Detroit For Motown Classic
Marian Hossa will appear in his 1,000th game against the Red Wings, but most importantly recent news about the latest NHL re-alignment plans shows Detroit moving to the East. If the proposal is approved, that means Detroit will no longer be in the Blackhawks division, and effectively destroying a rivalry. So cherish this afternoon battle, it may never be the same again.
The Blackhawks are also continuing their 21 game point streak (27 games dated back to last season) and with a win today they will tie the 1977-1978 Montreal Canadiens.
Detroit has been on a roll lately, going 3-1-0 in their last four games. They have outscored their opponents 15-6 during this stretch, although eight of those goals came in their thrashing against the Vancouver Canucks. Without Nicklas Lidstrom this year, they did stumble out of the gate early but thanks to Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and the emergence of Niklas Kronwall as well as rookie sensation Damien Brunner, they have climbed their way back into a playoff spot.
Jimmy Howard will get the start today. For the most part, Howard has had a very streaky year. His stat line follows a sub par 0.903 save percentage and 2.83 goals against average, and in his last five starts he has had two games over 0.930 in save percentage (one of them a shutout) and the rest were under 0.880, showing how inconsistent he has been. They just don't know what they are getting night in and night out, but that is partly due to Lidstrom's departure on the defense. Corey Crawford will get the start for Chicago. Crawford could not finish the game in his last start against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday, but did not suffer a concussion as much as it was speculated. His injury was unknown, Quenneville identified it as an upper-body injury and Corey did not miss any practice.
SEASON SERIES (1-0-0) ― The Blackhawks and Red Wings have already played each other once this year. The game was a classic Chicago-Detroit battle that ended with Nick Leddy scoring the overtime winning goal in a 2-1 game. Duncan Keith and Johan Franzen also tagged the score sheet with goals if their own. Corey Crawford made 29 saves on 30 shots, including five saves on five shots while shorthanded to keep the penalty kill among the top of the league.
IF HISTORY REPEATS ― Both Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp have been stellar against the Red Wings throughout their careers. Kane leads all Blackhawks with 20 assists 32 career games, while Sharp leads all Blackhawks with 15 goals and 32 points in 42 games. Brent Seabrook is the anchor on defense with 7 goals, 19 assists, and 26 points in 48 career games against the Red Wings. In net, Corey Crawford has put together a fabulous 8-2-2 record against Detroit, including a sparkling 0.940 save percentage and 1.96 goals against average.
BOTTOM LINE ― Even though the Blackhawks are coming off their 3rd game in 3 ½ days, they have proven that they can still find a way to win these types of games. Dave Bolland will not be playing today, but Marcus Kruger will be in good company playing with the Blackhawks top two point producers against Motown. The Red Wings have been streaky this year so depending on which Detroit defense wants to show up and whether Corey Crawford can get the job done for the full 60 minutes, this should be another close knit battle between two division rivals.
ACROSS THE POND ― Florida Panthers goaltender Jose Theodore was injured against the Carolina Hurricanes on the first shot of the game and had to be helped off the ice ... The Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens participated in a 7-6 football game last night, both teams scoring touchdowns but Pittsburgh notched the extra point ... The Los Angeles Kings six game win streak was halted last night by the Vancouver Canucks ... Ryan O'Reilly will return to the Colorado Avalanches line-up tonight ...
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