So who’s available in the draft? Saturday was terrible. Not sure how many of you are Detroit Lions fans as well as Red Wings fans, but after the Lions were beat up by the Seahawks, I turned to the Red Wings to save the evening and boy, that was a mistake. It looked OK for the Red Wings for a little bit, but then it went downhill fast.
Detroit is 2-2-1 while averaging 2.80 goals for and 3.00 goals against per game in the first five games of their road-trip. The Red Wings are finally scoring more goals, but they’re giving up even more in the process. Going back to December 9th, the Red Wings have gone 4-7-2 in their last 13 contests (10pts of a possible 26).
They continue their road trip tonight in Chicago, where they will take on a familiar foe. The Blackhawks come into play having won three in a row and they’re one of the best teams on home ice. So far they’ve gone 16-4-4 at the United Center, which is tied for the third best home record in the NHL.
It’s going to be ugly, but let’s see how these two teams stack up:
|Detroit Red Wings||Chicago Blackhawks|
|Goals For||2.38 GF/PG (25th)||2.74 GF/PG (14th)|
|Goals Against||2.88 GA/PG (21st)||2.40 GA/PG (6th)|
|Power Play||11.2% (30th)||18.5% (15th)|
|Penalty Kill||83.2% (9th)||76.1% (28th)|
|Corsi||48.14 CF% (22nd)||50.22 CF% (14th)|
|Last 10||4-5-1 (t-24th)||5-4-1 (13th)|
THE RED WINGS
Reinforcements are on the way. It looks like Justin Abdelkader and Mke Green will return to the lineup tonight. Abdelkader has missed the last 16 games with an MCL sprain and Green missed eight contests with an upper-body injury.
Abdelkader immediately adds depth to the Red wings forward group, bumping Luke Glendening to the fourth line. On Monday, Abdelkader skated on the third line with Dylan Larkin and Tomas Tatar. The third line goes from a line that produced little-to-no offence to a line that can’t definitely pose problems for the Blackhawks.
Getting Green back is huge. The offensive-defenseman is arguably the Red Wings’ most important player just because of the lack of talent on their blueline. Green will elevate to the top power play unit and comes in with 18 points (7G / 11A) in 32 games—he has one goal and four assists on the power play and his return will help the putrid power play.
After two great performances in California, Andreas Atahanasiou will get another look with Frans Nielsen and Thomas Vanek. Athanasiou has back-to-back multi-point games, having picked up two goals and three assists in Los Angeles and San Jose. This is the type of production that Red Wings fans have been expecting from Athanasiou, but he is finally getting the chance and the ice-time.
The Blackhawks’ salary cap situation has led to them playing a number of rookies this season. Vince Hinostroza has been given a chance to play with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa recently and has two points (1G / 1A) in his last five games and has a total of 10 points (4G / 6A) in 34 games this season.
To no one’s surprise, the Blackhawks are being led by the dynamic duo of Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin. After posting 106 points last year, Kane is on-pace for 84 points this year. Kane had a slowish start to the season, but has lit it up since mid-December—Kane has 16 points (4G / 12A) in his last 12 contests.
Panarin and Kane’s performance usually go hand-in-hand, so the Russian winger has been red-hot as well. Panarin has registered 18 points (7G / 11A) in his last 14 games and both of them will cause huge issues for the Red Wings tonight.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Tonight’s goaltending matchup should be Petr Mrazek vs. Corey Crawford.
Mrazek allowed three goals on 20 shots after replacing Jared Coreau in the loss in San Jose on Saturday. Mrazek played well in Anaheim on Wednesday, but looked shaky again vs. the Sharks. He has not recorded a win since December 17th, going 0-4-0 with a 3.75 GAA and .852 SV% since. It has been an ugly season for Mrazek, but he’s going to need to figure it out with Jimmy Howard out for another few weeks.
Crawford has won his last two starts had has won three of six starts with a 2.53 GAA and .920 SV% since returning to the lineup after undergoing an appendectomy in earlier-December. It has been difficult to beat Crawford at the United Center this season. The 32-year-old is 9-2-3 with a 2.06 GAA and .933 SV% on home ice this year.
WHERE TO WATCH
Puck drop is at 8:30 p.m. ET at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit or WGN. If you can’t watch the game you can listen to it on 97.1 FM The Ticket.
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