The Chicago Blackhawks have been red hot as of late at United Center. When they host the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night, they will be playing their fourth game in just six nights. Still, the team has managed to win the first three games of their four-game homestand and look to make it a perfect sweep against Detroit. For the Red Wings, times have been tough. The Red Wings sit in 27th place in the NHL with 39 points this season.
The team that has become a measuring stick for excellence over the last few decades is finally starting to sink into the cellar of the league. There’s still a lot of time left in the season, however, and though the Red Wings sit in eighth place in the Atlantic Division, they’re only seven points away from a playoff spot. Any extended surge from Detroit combined with faltering from the rest of the Atlantic Division and the Red Wings could still make a push for another playoff appearance in their already impressive streak that currently stands at 25 years.
This will be the first time these two teams will face off this season, and the Blackhawks have done a good job at beating teams they’re supposed to as of late. Their last three wins have come against bottom-10 teams in the league in the Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, and Nashville Predators. Detroit is another bottom-10 team that the Blackhawks will look to beat as they continue their ascent to the top of the NHL standings.
Detroit Red Wings at Chicago Blackhawks
United Center – 7:30 p.m. CT on Tuesday, Jan. 10
Broadcast channels –WGN, FS-D
2016-17 Season Series:
First Matchup of the Season
Detroit Red Wings – 17-18-5 – 39 points
Away Record: 10-8-2
Hot Players: Thomas Vanek, Anthony Mantha
Key Injuries: Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall, Jimmy Howard, Johan Franzen, Joe Vitale, Brendan Smith, Tyler Bertuzzi, Darren Helm
Gustav Nyquist-Henrik Zetterberg-Anthony Mantha
Andreas Athanasiou-Frans Nielsen-Thomas Vanek
Tomas Tatar-Dylan Larkin-Justin Abdelkader
Drew Miller-Riley Sheahan-Luke Glendening
Danny DeKeyser-Mike Green
Jonathan Ericsson-Alexey Marchenko
Xavier Ouellet-Ryan Sproul
Chicago Blackhawks – 26-12-5 – 57 Points
Home Record: 15-4-4
Hot Players: Artemi Panarin, Duncan Keith, Patrick Kane, Ryan Hartman
Key Injuries: Marcus Kruger
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Vinnie Hinostroza-Jonathan Toews-Marian Hossa
Ryan Hartman-Tanner Kero -Richard Panik
Andrew Desjardins-Dennis Rasmussen-Jordin Tootoo
Duncan Keith-Trevor van Riemsdyk
Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Niklas Hjalmarsson
1)Ryan Hartman recorded his first career (natural) hat trick Sunday against the Nashville Predators. His contributions for the team have been noticeable all season, but have really stood out as of late. Look for him to continue contributing both on and off the scoresheet.
2)To say the Red Wings are dealing with some injuries would be an understatement. While they are expected to receive a boost with Justin Abdelkader returning to the lineup tonight, they’re still without Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall, Jimmy Howard, Johan Franzen, Joe Vitale, Brendan Smith, Tyler Bertuzzi and Darren Helm.
3)The Blackhawks have won three straight games and look to continue that trend against the Red Wings as they close out their four-game homestand against Detroit.
4)Patrick Kane tied Connor McDavid for most assists in the league Sunday night against the Predators with a three-assist performance. Since then, McDavid has recorded two assists, boosting his total to 34 on the year. Kane will get a chance to close the gap again tonight against the Red Wings.
5)Justin Abdelkader is expected to return to the Red Wings’ lineup after missing time since Dec. 1 due to a sprained MCL. The veteran forward has eight points in 22 games this season and could be looking to make up for some lost time.
The Blackhawks and Red Wings face off tonight in a game that pits two of the best teams in the last decade against each other. For Chicago, the 2016-17 season has been another in a long line of strong seasons that has them currently sitting in first place in the Central Division and fifth place in the NHL overall. For the Red Wings, this season has been an unusual one for the players, management, and fans who have grown accustomed to seeing their team make the playoffs each and every season. A win for the Blackhawks tonight could have them sitting in second place in the league by the end of the night. A win for the Red Wings could be the turning point in the season they’re looking for to bring them back into the postseason discussion.