Skip to content

Five Q’s: Blackhawks-Red Wings preview

May 15, 2013, 12:38 PM EST

Comments Off
Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Toews AP

Do regular-season results matter?

Detroit will hope not.

The Blackhawks swept the season series 4-0 (though, to be fair, three of the games went to shootout or overtime) and clobbered the Wings 7-1 on Mar. 31, a game Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall said “was embarrassing at times.”

The ‘Hawks are 7-0-2 in their last nine against the Wings  — dating back to last season — and haven’t lost in regulation to Detroit in over two years (Apr. 10, 2011).

Can Howard best Crawford?

Most admit Chicago has the edge in terms of forward and defensive depth, so the goaltending position is hugely important.

Statistically speaking, Crawford had the superior opening round. He posted a 1.32 GAA and .950 save percentage to Howard’s 2.74 and .911, but it was Howard that stepped up when the stakes were high.

He went 3-1 in overtimes during Round 1 — stopping nine of 10 shots faced — and came up big again in Game 7, stopping 20 of 21 shots in the second and third periods as Anaheim looked to rally (and the only goal that beat Howard was a bank shot off Jonathan Ericsson‘s skate).

How tired are the Wings?

It was a tough opening round for Detroit, drawing arguably the worst travel option imaginable (nearly 2000 miles between Anaheim and Detroit).

The Wings made a number of cross-country flights during the series, went to overtime in four of the seven games and suffered several injuries along the way: Danny DeKeyser (broken thumb) was lost for the playoffs, Mikael Samuelsson aggravated a pectoral muscle injury, Jimmy Howard has a sore hamstring and Dan Cleary was a human bruise by Game 7.

Will Sharp stay hot?

After missing 20 games during an injury-plagued regular season, Patrick Sharp has taken the postseason by storm.

The 31-year-old forward led all Chicago skaters with five goals in the opening round, scoring two game-winning tallies.

His sniping prowess overshadowed the fact that Chicago’s leading goalscorers in the regular season — Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews — failed to find the back of the net against the Wild.

Kane still managed to rack up five assists in five games, though, and gave Sharp plenty of credit for converting on his scoring chances.

‘‘He knows how to get open,’’ Kane told the Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘And when he does, he doesn’t miss often.

“He’s always finding himself a good chance, whether it’s around the net or in the slot.’’

What to do with Datsyuk and Zetterberg?

It’s a question Anaheim wasn’t able to answer in the opening round — Datsyuk and Zetterberg combined for 15 points against the Ducks, who simply couldn’t find the proper matchup for Detroit’s two best players.

That said, the ‘Hawks might have an answer.

They’ll return center Dave Bolland for this series after he missed the end of the regular season and entire first round with a lower body injury.

Bolland is a talented checking center who figures to slot into the third line alongside Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw — a unit that can play a physical, defense-first game but also provide offense when necessary.

Even though he’s just 26, Bolland’s carved a reputation as a solid postseason performer. He has 37 points in 49 career games and scored eight goals in 22 games en route to Chicago’s Stanley Cup championship in 2010.

For all the second-round playoff previews, click here.

Latest Posts
  1. Video: Luongo sprawls out to rob Sekac in shootout

    Jan 24, 2015, 9:41 PM EST

    Roberto Luongo Getty Images

    Florida’s All-Star goalie never gave up on it.

  2. Video: Weber wins hardest shot with 108.5 mph blast

    Jan 24, 2015, 9:14 PM EST

    Shea Weber AP

    Just 0.3 away from Zdeno Chara’s all-time record.

  3. Video: Lightning’s Drouin wins fastest skater

    Jan 24, 2015, 7:55 PM EST

    JonathanDrouin2 Getty Images

    Team Foligno sweeps first competition.

  4. Brent Burns a ‘free spirit on the ice’ for the Sharks

    Jan 24, 2015, 6:20 PM EST

    Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game Seven Getty Images

    Has gone from forward to defense, back to forward and back to defense.

  5. Lawson Crouse: ‘I’m a big power forward’

    Jan 24, 2015, 5:30 PM EST

    Team Cherry v Team Orr Team Cherry v Team Orr

    He’s ranked fourth in Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings.

  6. Bettman says falling Canadian dollar won’t drastically impact the salary cap

    Jan 24, 2015, 4:55 PM EST

    2015 NHL All-Star Weeknd - Commissioners Press Conference Getty Images

    It’s expected to be around $71.6 million to $72.2 million for the 2015-16 season.

  7. Here’s an early look at Team Europe

    Jan 24, 2015, 4:09 PM EST

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 13: Anze Kopitar #11 of Slovenia skates against Russia during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day six of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Getty Images

    Slovenia’s (and Los Angeles’) Anze Kopitar figures to play a prominent role.

  8. Two big questions about the World Cup format

    Jan 24, 2015, 4:02 PM EST

    Gary Bettman, Donald Fehr AP

    Will fans care? Is it fair?

  9. Unique World Cup format allows ‘more of the very best players’ to participate

    Jan 24, 2015, 2:34 PM EST

    2015 NHL All-Star Weeknd - Commissioners Press Conference Getty Images

    “People are intrigued by this. There are going to be great storylines.”

  10. NHL unveils 2016 Winter Classic, Stadium Series games

    Jan 24, 2015, 2:15 PM EST

    Gillette Stadium, TCF Bank Stadium and Coors Field will play hosts

  11. Jacobs: Jury still out on Bruins

    Jan 24, 2015, 12:46 PM EST

    Jeremy Jacobs, Charlie Jacobs AP

    “Again, I’ll repeat that for this team to be even remotely close to missing the playoffs isn’t something we can be happy about.”

  12. Canes’ Murphy: ‘I was a little spoiled last year’

    Jan 24, 2015, 12:00 PM EST

    Vancouver Canucks v Carolina Hurricanes Vancouver Canucks v Carolina Hurricanes

    The 21-year-old is learning what it takes to be an NHL regular.

Featured video

Who will excite most in All-Star game?
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Hornqvist (3415)
  2. K. Letang (3237)
  3. J. Ortio (2988)
  4. S. Crosby (2862)
  5. C. Price (2670)