The Blackhawks start wrapping up their season series against the Red Wings on Thursday night, with the first of two games at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.
Chicago has won five of six bouts against Detroit this season, with their most recent meeting on February 28 ending in a commanding 7-2 Blackhawks’ victory. That game, with no shortage of scoring, is perhaps most memorable for Patrick Kane scoring his career goal No. 400 in the win.
Since their last meeting with the Hawks, the Red Wings’ struggles have continued, as they find themselves in last place in the Central Division, with a record of 15-23-6 propelling them to 36 points. However, in their last five games, Detroit has gone 3-1-1 against both the top two teams in the division in the Lightning and the Hurricanes. With the Red Wings playing some of their best hockey of the season, they’ll be looking to continue this trend and play spoiler to the Blackhawks on Thursday night.
The Blackhawks, who are coming off back-to-back wins against the Blue Jackets, have 13 games remaining on their regular season schedule. Currently, four points separate the Hawks from the No. 4 place in the division and a playoff spot, currently occupied by the Predators. In a season where teams only face divisional opponents, every single game counts, especially down the stretch.
So, what does this mean for the Blackhawks? While, the Hawks have largely found success against the Red Wings, they still have to head into this series prepared to play. With a three-game set versus Nashville — a team the Hawks haven’t beaten this season — coming up as well as games against the Lightning and Hurricanes, Chicago can’t afford to leave Detroit without four points.
Coming off of what was a fairly busy trade deadline for Stan Bowman, the Blackhawks lineup will feature newcomers Riley Stillman and Brett Connolly, with the latter of those two scoring his first goal in a Blackhawks uniform on Monday against Columbus. Calvin de Haan and Adam Boqvist are both dealing with injuries and will not play on Thursday. Slotting in for them will be Ian Mitchell — who was recently recalled from Rockford — and Nikita Zadorov, who was a healthy scratch in Chicago’s last game. A red-hot Kevin Lankinen gets the start in net.
Colliton says De Haan, Boqvist OUT tonight. Zadorov, Mitchell in for them.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) April 15, 2021
Rest of lineup the same. Lankinen starts again.
While Chicago’s 2021 season has seen its ups and downs and a playoff series against a top seeded team seems to be an uphill battle, the Blackhawks find themselves in a scenario where they can make the playoffs. Maybe no one expected this to be the case, but here we are. The homestretch starts tonight in
Hockeytown the underworld. Life is weird. I didn't ever think the Hawks would be in the same division as the Wings ever again. Much like Bruce Wayne putting away Joe Chill, what better way to make a playoff push than to light the lamp against Detroit. To our men of Four Feathers: This city needs you.
Let’s Go Hawks!
Blackhawks — Statistic — Red Wings
45.81% (30th) — Corsi For — 46.15% (27th)
46.93% (27th) — Expected goals for — 46.15% (30th)
2.79 (17th) — Goals per game — 2.23 (31st)
3.09 (21st) — Goals against per game — 3.16 (24th)
46.9% (27th) — Faceoffs — 49.9% (16th)
24.6% (6th) — Power play — 12.0% (30th)
73.3% (29th) — Penalty kill — 76.2% (26th)
Projected lineups (subject to change)
DeBrincat — Dach — Kane
Hagel — Suter — Strome
Kubalik — Kurashev — Hinostroza
Connolly — Kampf — Carpenter
Stillman — Murphy
Keith — Kalynuk
Zadorov — Mitchell
Svechnikov — Larkin — Zadina
Vrana — Rasmussen — Filppula
Panik — Namestnikov — Gagner
Helm — Glendening — Erne
Cholowski — Hronek
Staal — Stecher
Dekeyser — Lindstrom
How to watch
When: 6:30 p.m.
Where: Little Caesar’s Arena, Detroit
TV: NBC Sports Chicago, NHL Network
Live stream: NBC Sports app, NHL.TV