Heading into the season, the Blackhawks and Red Wings were expected to be battling for the top overall draft pick by the end of the year. Instead, Chicago jumped out to a surprisingly promising start, finding themselves in position for the playoffs, while the Red Wings are … more or less who we thought they were.
But as a grueling stretch of games awaits the Blackhawks in March, this weekend’s double-billing against the Red Wings provides an opportunity to build momentum against a weaker opponent and solidify Chicago’s position in the division.
• Chicago has owned Detroit this season, despite the minus-3 shot differential through four games this season. The Blackhawks are 4-0-0 in the previous four meetings, out-scoring the Red Wings 15-5 in the process.
• The Blackhawks and Red Wings are at opposite sides of the spectrum in the special teams matchup. Chicago boasts the league’s second-best unit on the man-advantage and will face Detroit’s 29th ranked penalty-kill. On the flip side, while the Blackhawks are below average on the penalty-kill, the Red Wings have the league’s worst powerplay unit, scoring at only a 6.1% rate.
• Kevin Lankinen and Malcolm Subban have led the way for the Blackhawks in net this season. Since dropping the first four games of the season (0-3-1), Subban and Lankinen have a combined 11-3-3 record. Since January 22, Chicago is leading the NHL in team save percentage (.931) and ranks third in high-danger save percentage (.858).
Puck Drops and Broadcast Info
• Saturday, February 27 at 7:00 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH, FS-D, ESPN+
Radio: WGN 720 AM / TUDN 1200-AM
• Sunday, February 28 at 6:00 p.m. CT
Radio: WGN 720 AM / TUDN 1200-AM
Blackhawks (11-6-4, 26 pts)
DeBrincat – Suter – Kane
Kubalík – Wallmark – Hagel
Janmark – Söderberg – Kurashev
Highmore – Kämpf – Carpenter
Keith – Mitchell
Zadorov – Murphy
de Haan – Boqvist
Red Wings (6-13-3, 15 pts)
Fabbri – Larkin – Mantha
Ryan – Namestnikov – Zadina
Brome – Filppula – Gagner
Erne – Glendening – Helm
Dekeyser – Hronek
Nemeth – Djoos
Tale of the Tape
Blackhawks: 32.8% (2nd)
Red Wings: 6.1% (31st)
Blackhawks: 77.3% (20th)
Red Wings: 70.3% (29th)
Blackhawks: 47.1% (27th)
Red Wings: 53.2% (4th)
Goals Per Game
Blackhawks: 2.94 (17th)
Red Wings: 2.00 (30th)
Goals Against Per Game
Blackhawks: 2.81 (17th)
Red Wings: 3.09 (23rd)
Blackhawks: Patrick Kane – 10 goals, 21 assists, 31 points
Red Wings: Dylan Larkin – 4 goals, 7 assists, 11 points / Bobby Ryan – 5 goals, 6 assists, 11 points
Brent Seabrook (IR – Lower Back)
Zack Smith (IR – Back)
Andrew Shaw (IR – Concussion)
Kirby Dach (LTIR – Wrist)
Alex Nylander (LTIR – Knee)
Jonathan Toews (LTIR – Illness)
Lucas Carlsson (IR – Groin)
Dylan Strome (Day-to-day – Concussion)
Henrik Zetterberg (IR – Retired)
Tyler Bertuzzi (IR – Upper Body)
Troy Stetcher (Day-to-day – Lower Body)
Keep An Eye Out For
400 Club. Patrick Kane’s next goal will put him at 400 career goals. He would become the fourth Blackhawks player to reach 400 goals all with Chicago, joining Bobby Hull (604), Stan Mikita (541), and Steve Larmer (406). I’m 100% sure it will happen this weekend.
Don’t Get Mad, Get Even. The Blackhawks are one of the worst teams in the NHL at even-strength this season. But luckily, the Red Wings aren’t so good either. It would be really encouraging to see the Blackhawks produce at even-strength this weekend and build some confidence in their abilities to score outside of the powerplay as they head into the month of March.