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Better-than-expected Blackhawks face struggling Red Wings

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Detroit is 2-6-2 in their last 10 while Chicago is 5-2-3

Detroit Red Wings v Chicago Blackhawks
Brandon Hagel of the Chicago Blackhawks controls the puck under pressure from Troy Stecher of the Detroit Red Wings
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Blackhawks won their first two games against the Red Wings by a combined score of 10-3 and will look for similar results starting on Monday night at the Little Caesars Arena.

Those games proved to be a launching pad for Kevin Lankinen, who had allowed five goals to the Panthers in his first start before picking up both wins against Detroit. He’s now at a 6-2-3 record in his first season.

The Red Wings got off to a good start to the season, winning two of their first four games. Then the Blackhawks sent them into a spiral, as Detroit lost eight straight including those first two against Chicago. But Detroit is back to exactly where they were before the first set against Chicago, having won two of their last four games once again.

At least the Red Wings aren’t making international headlines, nor are they worse than expected. After finishing last in the 2019-20 season, Detroit likely wasn’t expecting to do much better. It doesn’t help that one of their best young forwards, Tyler Bertuzzi, has been on injured reserve since Feb. 3. Detroit is also missing forward Darren Helm, who has been out since Feb. 11.

Lankinen should start one of the games against Detroit and was in the starter’s crease during Monday’s morning skate, although that’s no guarantee he’ll be the starter. After his second consecutive quality start, Malcolm Subban could also draw back in for one of the games in this set.

The Blackhawks could see a few players return after coming off of the COVID-19 Protocol list. Adam Boqvist has been skating for the last few days, so he could add more offense from the Blackhawks’ blue line in Detroit. It would be an apt restarting point for his season, as the last game he played was against the Red Wings. Ryan Carpenter could draw back in on the fourth line for Chicago as well, having come off the COVID-19 protocol on Saturday. However, it appears none of those changes will happen just yet:

Both of these teams could have better possession stats, with each in the bottom 10 in most stats, although the Red Wings clear that bar in high-danger chances. This is a game the Blackhawks have a chance to control play, and they did so in the second game of their last set, with a 63.03 percent expected goal share. These are games the Blackhawks can win.

LGH.

Tale of the Tape

Blackhawks — Statistic — Red Wings

46.37% (30th) — Corsi For — 47.14% (27th)

45.54% (28th) — Expected goals for — 47.51 (23rd)

2.94 (17th) — Goals per game — 2.06 (30th)

2.94 (18th) — Goals against per game — 3.19 (22nd)

48,2% (25th) — Faceoffs — 52.1% (8th)

34.7% (2nd) — Power play — 7.8% (30th)

80.4% (15th) — Penalty kill — 71.7% (27th)

Blackhawks

DeBrincat — Suter — Kane

Janmark — Strome — Kubalik

Kurashev — Soderberg — Hagel

Wallmark — Kampf — Johnson

Keith — Mitchell

de Haan — Carlsson

Zadorov — Beaudin

Lankinen/Subban

Red Wings

Zadina — Larkin — Brome

Mantha — Fabbri — Ryan

Flippula — Namestnikov — Gagner

Glendening — Nielsen — Erne

Nemeth — Hronek

Staal — Stecher

Djoos — Merrill

Greiss

Bernier

How to watch

When: 6:30 p.m.

Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Live stream: NBC Sports app, NHL.TV, ESPN+