After a seemingly karmic game Saturday in which the Blackhawks feel 5-3 to the Red Wings, the Blackhawks will have an opportunity to rebound rebound as they face the Red Wings again Sunday night at the United Center, hoping to close out an otherwise strong February (8-3-1) with a bounce-back win.
The Red Wings are on their first win streak of the season after defeating the Blackhawks Saturday and the Predators Thursday. The wins come on the back of Jonathan Bernier, who has a .933 save percentage in those two games, having stopped 70 of 75 shots. The typically offensively challenged Red Wings capitalized on limited scoring chances to score five goals in each game — a season-high for them. The Red Wings also ended their power-play drought with their first goal in 15 games.
Bernier wasn’t the only Red Wings player that made the Blackhawks look sloppy Saturday. In his first game of the season, Evgeny Svechnikov scored the game-winning goal, had a primary assist on another, and led both teams in expected goals (0.59). Frans Nielsen had a goal and assist of his own as well as the second most high-danger chances (2) for the Red Wings. Robby Fabbri had two assists and broke the Blackhawks coverage several times throughout the game — including on the opening goal — while Christian Djoos scored on the power play. Despite having limited offensive zone time, the Red Wings made the most of their opportunities, so credit to these players for capitalizing when given the chance. The Red Wings will still be without captain Dylan Larkin, who is out with a undisclosed injury.
The Blackhawks have been playing poorly at 5-on-5 when it comes to shot possession and zone time, so it’s ironic that arguably their best game in that regard would end up in a loss. The Blackhawks dominated on Saturday with a 62.16 shot attempt percentage, 64.0 high danger percentage, and 62.63 expected goals percentage at 5-on-5. However, the defensive breakdowns were costly and they allowed nine high-danger scoring chances against — three more than the Red Wings normally produce in a game. The loss was the third time in the last four games in which the Blackhawks allowed five goals against and was also only the second time they lost by more than a goal since their prior 15.
The good news is that if the Blackhawks play a similar possession game Sunday but clean up the defensive mistakes, it’s likely they’ll pull off the rebound. The best of the Blackhawks were still playing extremely well: Alex Debrincat scored his 100th NHL goal, Adam Boqvist had two assists and his best transition game of the season, and Dominik Kubalik finally got rewarded with a goal in the waning seconds after leading the team in shots on goal (6) and shot attempt percentage (78.57%) at 5-on-5. And despite having nine shot attempts and eight scoring chances — both team highs — Patrick Kane is still searching for his 400th NHL goal, so hopefully we get to see that be realized Sunday along with a win.
Tale of the tape
Blackhawks — Statistic — Red Wings
47.34% (28th) — Corsi For — 47.28% (29th)
46.78% (26th) — Expected goals for — 46.75% (27th)
2.95 (15th) — Goals per game — 2.13 (30th)
2.91 (16th) — Goals against per game — 3.09 (23rd)
46.9% (27th) — Faceoffs — 53.4% (3rd)
32.3% (3rd) — Power play — 7.5% (31st)
76.1% (22nd) — Penalty kill — 70.8% (30th)
Projected lineups (subject to change)
DeBrincat — Suter — Kane
Hagel — Wallmark — Kubalik
Kurashev — Soderberg — Janmark
Highmore — Kampf — Carpenter
Keith — Mitchell
Murphy — Zadorov
de Haan — Boqvist
Ryan — Fabbri — Mantha
Zadina — Namestnikov — Gagner Zadina
Helm — Glendening — Erne
Nielsen — Filppula — Svechnikov
DeKeyser — Hronek
Staal — Merrill
Djoos — Nemeth
How to watch
When: 6:00 p.m.
Where: United Center, Chicago
TV: NBC Sports Chicago, ESPN+
Live stream: NBC Sports app, NHL.TV