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Hate It Here: Blackhawks vs. Red Wings preview

Can the Blackhawks — the only NHL team without a win this season — finally get a lead in their sixth game?

Chicago Blackhawks v Detroit Red Wings
Joe Veleno of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Chicago Blackhawks during a preseason game
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Blackhawks are now the lone winless team in the NHL this season, having not won a game in their first five. Perhaps more (less?) impressively, the Blackhawks haven’t even had a lead in any of those five games. The best they’ve done is ties, which included a 1-1 tie against the Canucks on Thursday night that eventually became a 4-1 defeat.

After going 6-2-0 against the Red Wings last season — likely the last time these two teams will be in each other’s division for a long while — the Blackhawks will look for their first win of the season at home against Detroit on Sunday n ight.

The Red Wings come in with a record of 2-2-1, meaning the Red Wings may be favored in this one, although the Red Wings enter this contest fresh off a disappointing result against the Canadiens on Saturday.

So far this season, the Red Wings have been led by Tyler Bertuzzi, who has scored five goals with one assist in his first five games. Dylan Larkin and rookie defenseman Moritz Seider follow with four points apiece and seven players — including rookie forward Lucas Raymond — follow with three points.

The Red Wings were busy this offseason, picking up a pair of former Blackhawks in defenseman Nick Leddy and forward Pius Suter. Detroit also added goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic, who posted a league-high .932 save percentage last season.

This year, Nedeljkovic is off to a much slower start, but fellow Red Wings goaltender Thomas Greiss picked up the slack with 62 saves on 64 shots (.969 SV%) in his first two starts. But Greiss was blown up by the Canadiens on Saturday, allowing five goals on 17 shots before being pulled near the game’s halfway point. Nedeljkovic made six saves in relief and will likely get the nod against the Blackhawks.

The Red Wings allowed just 11 goals through their first four games of the season before the horrendous Montreal game. The bad news is that the Blackhawks have remained unsuccessful in scoring at 5-on-5, as the lone goal came on the power play against the Canucks, meaning another good chunk of time (45:55 to be exact) passed without a goal.

The Blackhawks remain one of the worst possession teams at 5-on-5 as well, with a 47.89 percent shot share and 44.43 percent expected goal share. About the only thing going the Blackhawks’ way right now is a potent power play, which scored again against the Canucks.

On Saturday, a trio of Blackhawks were put in COVID-19 protocol: Patrick Kane, Ryan Carpenter and Erik Gustafsson, with all three missing practice and their status for Sunday’s game still unknown. If that wasn’t bad enough, Dominik Kubalik caught Marc-Andre Fleury up high with a one-time shot, knocking the wind out of Fleury, although he did return to practice.

The Blackhawks are in jeopardy right now, and not the good one with Trebek, the bad one with the offensive guy who made a very boring host. They’ll need to secure a victory against the Red Wings, who are coming off a loss in the first game of this back-to-back.

If not now, then when?

Just go Hawks.

Blackhawks — Statistic — Red Wings (numbers from last season)

45.85% (30th) — 5-on-5 Corsi For — 45.44% (31st)

43.96% (31st) — 5-on-5 Expected goals for — 45.43% (28th)

2.84 (16th) — Goals per game — 2.23 (30th)

3.29 (24th) — Goals against per game — 3 (20th)

46.9% (27th) — Faceoffs — 50.1% (17th)

21.7% (11th) — Power play — 11.4% (30th)

76.8% (28th) — Penalty kill — 78.7% (22nd)

Projected lineups (subject to change)

Blackhawks

Kubalik — Toews — Kubalik

DeBrincat — Dach — Hagel

R. Johnson — Borgstrom — Strome

Entwistle— Johnson — Khaira

de Haan — Jones

McCabe — Murphy

Stillman — Mitchell

Fleury

Lankinen

Red Wings

Bertuzzi — Larkin — Raymond

Fabbri — Suter — Zadina

Namestnikov — Rasmussen — Erne

Smith — Stephens — Gagner

Leddy — Seider

Staal — Lindstrom

Hronek — DeKeyser

Nedeljkovic

Greiss

How to watch

When: 6 p.m. CT

Where: United Center, Chicago

TV: NBC Sports Chicago, NHL Network

Live stream: ESPN+