Jan 22, 2014, 8:49 AM EDT
Throughout the season, NBCSN will feature the NHL’s fiercest rivalries on Wednesday nights. Tonight the Chicago Blackhawks will head to Joe Louis Arena to take on the Detroit Red Wings at 8:00 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.
The days of the Red Wings and Blackhawks competing for the Central Division title are over. They’ve faced each other in the playoffs in two of the last five years and their Conference Semifinals series in 2013 went to seven games.
Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday’s NHL games. It’s just $5 to join and first prize is $200. Starts Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.
With Detroit switching conferences, this represents just the first of two contests between these squads in 2013-14 and if they are to face each other again in the postseason, it would have to be in the Stanley Cup Final. All of that suggests their past rivalry will diminish and perhaps it will in time, but the memories of the fiercely fought games are still fresh in the minds of the players and the coaches.
So for now, playing in only two games just means that the stakes have been raised.
“Everyone will be into it to a different level than anyone we play, and we’ll be revisiting a great seven-game series that could’ve gone either way,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville told CSN Chicago. “Knowing we play only once a year in each building, we can still bring back the intensity that’s been in that rivalry for a long time.”
As is the case on almost any given night, the Blackhawks will enter this contest as the favorites. They are a team of few weaknesses and their offensive might is unparalleled. With 31 games remaining in their schedule, they already have three different 20-goal scorers and five players that have recorded at least 40 points.
By contrast the Red Wings’ top scorer is Henrik Zetterberg, who has 15 goals and 39 points this season. Of course, he’s been limited to just 38 contests as almost no one in Detroit has been spared from the injury bug.
Only two players on the Red Wings’ roster have participated in all 49 of their games (Drew Miller and Kyle Quincey). They are likely to enter tonight’s contest without forwards Pavel Datsyuk, Daniel Alfredsson, Johan Franzen, Stephen Weiss, and goaltender Jimmy Howard. Given everything Detroit has been through, it’s impressive that the team is still in the running for a Wild Card spot.
It’s clear which squad has the edge on paper, but in the thick of a playoff race and in a rare meeting against an old rival, Detroit isn’t going to let this one slip by without a fight.
- Blackhawks’ Darling gets the nod for Game 3 8
- Preds’ Weber not travelling to Chicago 9
- Report: Flames requested a review of Engelland’s instigator 7
- Video: Flames, Canucks combine for over 100 PIM in wild line brawl 15
- Preds torch Crawford, Hawks; even series at 1-1 33
- Report: Kings’ Stoll arrested for cocaine, MDMA possession (Updated) 93
- Huge loss for Preds as Weber (lower body) knocked out of Game 2 7
- Sabres? Oilers? Coyotes? Leafs? ‘Canes? — McDavid would be happy to play for any of them 37
- Stone a game-time decision, Sens downplay retaliation for Subban slash 25
- Flyers fire Berube 49
- Stone suffered microfracture on Subban slash, Sens confirm (102)
- Report: Players growing tired of Darryl Sutter (94)
- Report: Kings’ Stoll arrested for cocaine, MDMA possession (Updated) (93)
- Bruins fire Chiarelli after missing playoffs (75)
- PHT Morning Skate: Ottawa Sun runs with front page headline ‘Heads Up, P.K.’ (74)