Blackhawks-Red Wings Preview
Though it hasn’t always been easy, the Chicago Blackhawks are
finding ways to win while keeping their season-opening point streak
The visiting Blackhawks expect another serious challenge when
they look for a ninth straight victory by continuing their recent
success against the surging archrival Detroit Red Wings on
While Chicago (18-0-3) is 21-0-6 since losing 6-1 at home to
Nashville on March 25, it’s often had to work hard to maintain its
record-setting start without a regulation loss in 2013. One night
after rolling to a 3-0 win at St. Louis, the Blackhawks overcame a
pair of one-goal deficits and a blown third-period lead before
Brent Seabrook’s goal gave them a 4-3 overtime win over lowly
Columbus on Friday.
“We were down early in this game,” said forward Bryan Bickell,
who has a goal and two assists in four games. “It shows the
character in this room to come back. It’s been fun. We’re just
having a blast right now.”
Chicago’s enjoyment has come from a confidence that continues to
grow while believing it can prevail no matter how challenging the
situation. The Blackhawks, who average 3.2 goals and yield 1.9, are
11-0-3 in one-goal games.
“You get that swagger and confidence when you’re on a streak
like this,” said forward Viktor Stalberg, who has three goals with
an assist in five games. “You have confidence you’ll find a way to
get it done.”
With that attitude in tow, the Blackhawks face their biggest
rival looking to win nine straight for the first time since Dec.
7-28, 2008. Chicago is 13-0-4 on the road since losing 5-1 at St.
Louis on March 6, and in the midst of a 7-0-1 stretch at
Chicago has won four straight and nine of 13 overall against the
Red Wings (10-8-3), but the last eight have been decided by a goal.
Defenseman Nick Leddy scored 2:45 into overtime for a 2-1 home win
over Detroit on Jan. 27.
Corey Crawford is among the NHL leaders at 9-0-3 with a 1.46
goals-against average, and could start for the Blackhawks after
playing one period Thursday before leaving with an upper-body
injury. He was between the pipes in this season’s first meeting,
and is 4-0-1 with a 1.94 GAA at Joe Louis Arena the last two
Jimmy Howard will be back in the Detroit net after Jonas
Gustavsson made 25 saves in Thursday’s 2-1 shootout win at San
Jose. Rookie Damien Brunner had the lone shootout goal to lead the
Red Wings to their third win in four games following an 0-3-2
“This is the best our team has looked all year, not necessarily
the way we’ve played, the way we’ve looked,” coach Mike Babcock
said after his team improved to 4-4-3 in one-goal games.
The Red Wings have allowed 1.5 goals in the last four after
yielding 3.8 in the previous five.
They prevailed Thursday despite failing on two power-play
chances to fall to 0 for 33 on the road. Detroit is 3 for 23 with
the man advantage in the last eight versus Chicago at Joe Louis
Arena, but ranks among the NHL leaders converting 24.6 percent of
those opportunities at home this season. The Red Wings are 4 of 7
in the last two at there.
The Blackhawks are killing 94.7 percent of their penalties on
Johan Franzen, who scored Detroit’s goal at Chicago, does not
have a point during a five-game stretch that was interrupted when
he missed seven with a hip flexor.
Howard is 0-1-2 in his last four starts against the Blackhawks,
but has a 2.04 GAA.
Chicago center Dave Bolland could miss a fifth straight game
reportedly with a concussion.